Jan 22, 2014

encouraging Yiddish aliyah to Israel (video)

World Mizrachi has gone on a Yiddish campaign to encourage aliyah among hassidim, especially Satmar, to Eretz Yisrael.. They have put out this video in Yiddish as part of the program..

It's a beautiful video, but I do think it is a bit strange.. Instead of scenes of Zionism, the land, soldiers, not frum people at the Kotel, etc., I would think that it would be far more effective, considering the target audience, to show images of hassidic life in Eretz Yisrael..

from the Jerusalem Post:
While the insular ultra-Orthodox community is notoriously anti-Zionist, Gimpel believes that now is the perfect time to target its members with a pro-immigration message.
While admitting that his target demographic is “insular and impenetrable,” Gimpel told The Jerusalem Post that the increasing threat of modernity posed by the penetration of smartphones and the Internet among hassidic groups has created a more receptive audience than may have existed previously.
Many senior Ultra-Orthodox rabbis have banned the use of smartphones and the Internet, which they have deemed “impure” and a threat to their way of life.
The new campaign, Gimpel explained, will bypass “traditional obstacles to engagement” with the ultra-Orthodox.
“Smartphones and You- Tube allow us to reach communities at large that would never otherwise invite us to speak at their synagogues.
Using the Internet properly has the potential to change world Jewry.”
The clip was slated to be posted to several Yiddish language websites by Tuesday evening as well, he added.
“My hope for the Yiddish speaking hassidim is that they begin to see living in Israel as a part of their religious responsibly and, ultimately, a part of Jewish destiny,” Gimpel said.
A reference in the video to the “land we have fought and sacrificed for,” accompanied by a clip of an IDF combat soldier, may turn off members of the ultra-Orthodox community, who are actively opposed to government measures to induct yeshiva students.
Gimpel, quoting an unnamed Yiddish-speaking journalist with whom he said he spoke, said that now may be the “right time to reach out to the Satmar hassidim and other hassidic sects.
“Western culture is infiltrating our communities and people are starting to consider [the land of Israel] as a real option to raising their families in an uncorrupted Jewish environment.
The State of Israel that was once seen as a threat to a Torah-based life is being seen as a potential safe haven for people who want to live a Torah-based life.”
Satmar’s opposition to Zionism is well known. Zalman Leib Teitelbaum, one of the sect’s two competing grand rabbis, told a rally of thousands in Mea She’arim last year that voting in Knesset elections was forbidden according to Jewish law.
A Satmar spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.
MK Dov Lipman, an ultra-Orthodox rabbi, said that he was “in shock” that Mizrahi was targeting the Yiddish speaking sector.
“Of course we welcome all Jews to Israel but to place resources and effort to motivate this specific population to move to Israel is beyond comprehension,” he told the Post.
“The haredi [ultra-Orthodox] community in Beit Shemesh lived in harmony with the rest of the population until the Yiddish- speaking, anti-Zionist, extremist population arrived.
“Efforts should be placed on inspiring Jews who are moderate, tolerant and seek to be part of the broader population – including the mainstream American haredi population – to [come to] Israel and not this shocking and startling new initiative.”
Asked about the new campaign, the Nefesh B’Nefesh aliya organization said that it is in touch with “a great number” of ultra-Orthodox Jews and that the organization is “in close daily contact in order to tailor their aliya plans to suit their religious and social needs.”
“I wish them well,” Agudath Israel of America spokesman Rabbi Avi Shafran told the Post when informed of the campaign.
“But Israel would be a more welcoming place for such Jews if, instead of embarking on a social engineering program to try to change the Israeli haredi way of life, it recommitted itself to supporting the full-time Torah-study that helps protect all its citizens.”
While the idea of bringing anti-Zionist Jews to Israel through such a campaign may seem like a long shot to some, sociologist Dr. Steven Cohen believes that the concept may have some success.
American ultra-Orthodox Jews “have counterparts in Israel,” he told the Post. “Haredi identity is somewhat fluid.
So, if you want people to make aliya, they’re a reasonable group to target.”
The responses quoted are interesting..
 - MK Lipman says we should not spend resources, that are limited, on bringing anti-zionists, though if they come we welcome them as we welcome all Jews to Israel. He references the experience of Bet Shemesh with the anti-Zionist extremists as an example of why we should make effort to bring moderate and tolerant Jews rather than spend resources to bring extremist anti-Zionists.

I disagree with him on this point. Aliyah resources should be used to bring any and every jew possible on aliyah. Even the Satmar anti-Zionists. They should be encouraged to come and maybe they should be encouraged to live in a Satmar neighborhood rather than in a mixed neighborhood, but they should be encouraged to come. They could even be a moderating force and influence their Israeli brethren to be more moderate. They might not be more moderate in their anti-zionism (I have no idea), but the hassidim from the USA, even Satmar, are far more moderate in many aspects of daily life than the Israeli edition - work, education, etc. I see nothing wrong with spending resources on this.

 - Rabbi Avi Shafran says Israel should recmmit to supporting full-time Torah study and would then be a more welcoming place for such Jews.

Does Rabbi Shafran mean - like the way the USA supports full-time Torah study? Why would Israel be more welcoming by supporting full-time Torah study? The US government does not support full-time study, yet it is extremely welcomin and the hassidic and haredi community has done just fine there despite the government not paying for full-time study. I think Rabbi Shafran's comment is irrelevant to aliyah. I don't think American hassidim will consider that issue, as they are already not getting that financial support from the government.they currently live under.

 - Nefesh bNefesh said they are in touch with ultra-orthodox Jews and work to tailor aliyah plans to suit religious and social needs.
As they should. Great job.

Personally, while I find the great video a bit off-target, I think the idea behind it is great and hope it is successful.

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  1. SB, Beit ShemeshJanuary 22, 2014 1:04 PM

    The US government does not *ban* full-time Torah study, which is what the Israeli government is trying to do for three years of a young person's life.

  2. SB,
    Gimme a break.
    No one is banning anything.
    Stop reading all the propaganda and get real.

  3. SB, Beit ShemeshJanuary 22, 2014 4:23 PM

    Mr. or Mrs. Unknown, please explain how someone who has been conscripted into the army is going to be in full-time Torah study at the same time

  4. going to the army and doing the greatest mitzah of saving Am Yisrael has nothing to do with "banning" Torah study.
    anything that you have to do but don't want to do is "banning" torah study??
    Don't confuse the issues.
    let's start with the kids that are not "full time Torah study" (or for that matter, that are not learning at all) to go to the army.

  5. Actually, Satmar by and large do something that many Israeli Charedim do not -- go to work. That is emphasized from an early age for all but the most brilliant.

    Of course, the chief problem with that in Israel is the army, which Satmar would be quite adamant about not doing.

    Which goes back to the real answer to the Charedi problem: make the army voluntary for all. Within a generation, you will see the majority go to work by their late 20s, and only a few stay in kollel for life. Roughly what Lakewood and its fellow travelers are today.

  6. Tal: couldn't agree more.
    Unknown: yes of course anything the government forces you to do for an amount of time at the expense of Torah study amounts to a ban for that period of time. It doesn't make difference if you consider it a mitzvah or not once there's coercion involved. You're not talking logically


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