Join the Neo-Zionist

  • Receive our Kummunique:
    unique and informative emails
    about events, articles, and info
    to keep you in touch.

Kumah Mascots

Kumah Awards


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Land and the Daf #1: Olive Oil

Last year I joined up with countless others on the noble project of learning Daf Yomi. We learn a daf, two side of a page, of Gemara (Talmid) every day. The beauty of this is you can discuss what you are learning with Jews all over the world no matter where you go since everyone learns the same thing at the same time.

One of the things I noticed right away was how many times the subject matter somehow relates to living in Eretz Yisrael. Sometimes the connection is quite obvious and jumps out of the page and other times it's more subtle but it’s still there. I thought it might be nice to share some of these thoughts as I came across them.

In today's daf for example (on B.B. 67B) the Mishna discusses what is included in the sale of an olive oil factory if nothing was explicitly specified. The Mishna actually uses very mysterious terms like “the sea” and “the maidens.” When learning this difficult Mishna I actually understood it a lot better today, now that I live in Israel than I would have before I made Aliyah.

The reason is because Yishai was nice enough to show me an ancient olive oil factory that was discovered right behind his home in Beit El. Actually there are many of these ancient olive presses all over Israel. Having become familiar with that it was a lot easier to understand all the parts of the press the Mishna is describing.

It’s very easy to learn Gemara, Mishnayos or even Chumish in America and to feel completely disconnected from the subject matter as if it’s only theoretical and not “real.” However when you live here in Israel the Torah really comes to life. I can't imagine how anyone that loves Torah wouldn't want to live in the land of the Torah.

Labels: , , , ,

Full post and comments...

Monday, October 26, 2009

Do you think I should be allowed to make aliyah? Part II

This is the continuation of my email discussion from below:

He wrote:

Thanks for your response. I have been invited a few times to celebrate Shabbat with Chabad and actually chose to get a bris last year. However, I find life in Jesus very satisfying! I am also disgusted of the persecution of Jews by so-called Christians. Christianity in its early stages comprised only of Jews though. I may be going to Israel with Chabad this year, it should be great. I do find it ironic that you're trying to missionize me though!

I wrote back:

Nothing ironic about it - we are in the business of spreading the true faith as Abraham did. We were given a Torah and it is applicable to all mankind. Now that we are back on our homeland, the nations are turning to us and asking us about the truth. Christianity is bankrupt, and now many people are looking for the right way to serve the Lord. I hope, truly, that you will be able to shed the extraneous husk of the J-faith and that you will be able to serve G-d properly. This may be true: "However, I find life in Jesus very satisfying!" - but the question is whether G-d finds your life satisfying to Him.

He wrote:

Agree to disagree. Great talking with you!

Labels: , ,

Full post and comments...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Do you think I should be allowed to make aliyah?


I am a Jew (I have a Jewish mother) & was raised in a church. I am proud of being a Jew & I believe Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah. Do you think I should be allowed to make aliyah? Do you think I have the right to present my beliefs to Jews living in eretz yisrael & coexist should they choose to differ with me?


Dear Friend,

Israel is a Jewish state and not a Christian one. Your first goal seems to be a missionary one as you want to spread your "Gospel" to Jews in Israel. If that is your goal then maybe Aliyah is not for you. If you want to live as a Christian you can do so in many other countries - ours is not of that faith. We have suffered enough under the Christendom and we did not survive the persecution just to be finally missionized when back in our homeland.

Maybe you are ready and open minded enough to be exposed to traditional Judaism? Maybe you need a good helping of a Jewish Israel more than it needs Christmas? In any case, I wish you luck. May G-d direct you on His proper path.


Labels: , ,

Full post and comments...

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Kipling's 'Zion'

While the most recent noted Nobel Prize winner would have us give up on Zion, a more veteran winner (although not for Peace, but rather for Literature) advises a more tenacious approach.

by Rudyard Kipling

The Doorkeepers of Zion,
They do not always stand
In helmet and whole armour,
With halberds in their hand;
But, being sure of Zion,
And all her mysteries,
They rest awhile in Zion,
Sit down and smile in Zion;
Ay, even jest in Zion;
In Zion, at their ease.

The Gatekeepers of Baal,
They dare not sit or lean,
But fume and fret and posture
And foam and curse between;
For being bound to Baal,
Whose sacrifice is vain,
Their rest is scant with Baal,
They glare and pant for Baal
They mouth and rant for Baal,
For Baal in their pain!

But we will go to Zion,
By choice and not through dread,
With these our present comrades
And those our present dead;
And, being free of Zion
In both her fellowships,
Sit down and sup in Zion --
Stand up and drink in Zion
Whatever cup in Zion
Is offered to our lips!

Labels: , , ,

Full post and comments...

G-d Said Yes

By Rivkah Lambert Adler:
You turned my mourning to dancing. You removed my sackcloth and clothed me in joy. (Tehillim 30:12)

This is the post I've been waiting eight years to write. What seemed utterly impossible just a short time ago suddenly, and I mean suddenly, became absolutely possible. In the end, the whole story is one giant Kiddush Hashem (sanctification of G'd's Name).

G'd, through His great goodness, finally said, "Yes. Yes, Rivkah, you can now make plans to come and live in my Land, live among My people. Come soon and grow yet closer to Me."

I can hardly believe it.

Every single boulder that was in our way on the road between Baltimore and Ma'ale Adumim is gone. It's as if G'd said, "Oh, is that in your way? No problem. Here, let Me get rid of that pesky boulder for you." And He did. With such elegance, with such ease, that it could only be G'd's handiwork.

There have been miracles in this process of getting to yes. Outright miracles. Jaw-dropping miracles. Out of respect for the privacy of others, I can't share everything that happened in a public blog, but I can recount this.

On the day I left Ariella in her new life in Israel, I stood on our mirpeset, facing Jerusalem, and prayed an inchoate, "Please Hashem. Please. Please." I wept quietly on the sherut from Ma'ale Adumim, all the way through picking up nine more passengers in various neighborhoods in Jerusalem and I didn't stop until Modi'in, 15 minutes before reaching the airport. Although I sat all the way in the dark back corner and tried to be discreet, the sherut driver twice tried to comfort me in Hebrew, "Yihyeh b'seder, Giveret. It will be okay."

Despite the fact that this was the most difficult parting to date, I eventually dried my tears and made my way back to Baltimore. Once back at the house, I started to unpack. I was alone in the house when something I can't quite define sent me into my daughter's room. The room that she left behind when she made aliyah. The room that held an essence of her, a memory of her, but will no longer ever be hers.

I sat on the bed and I had a meltdown. I don't know how else to define it. The grief that I held quietly on the sherut surfaced in that empty house and I yowled and keened, a wailing lament, as if for the dead.

In my head, I reminded myself that my situation was far from grievous. No one I love had died. No one I love was even sick. I was not Gilad Shalit's mother. My children were healthy and well and I knew where they were.

But I simply could not stop crying.

Years ago, my husband made me promise that when I couldn't take it anymore, I had to let him know. He recognized, before I did, that we were now at that point.

And suddenly, in the exact place where there had been three absolutely impenetrable obstacles, there were five really potent reasons why we should make aliyah. Why we must go soon.

My husband agreed. The words came out of his mouth, but I knew it was Hashem talking. And just like that, the agony over being displaced was over.

To me, it was no less a miracle than the splitting of the Red Sea. Whether I finally cried enough, or accumulated enough merit or, more likely, the combined strength of the prayers of others reached its fulfillment, something shifted in the universe and Hashem said yes.

But then it was Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, and, in a rabbinic household, there was no time to talk about or act on what we had just agreed to.

We told our families that, with G'd's help, we will be coming Home in Tammuz 5770. Some of these conversations were very painful and full of tears of another kind. But, in the end, we were blessed, even by family members who wish we weren't going.

With the chagim coming soon, it was a priority to tell our family members. Beyond that, we only had enough time to tell a few close friends. So many people clearly demonstrated that they appreciated how precious this news was. Some sang in response. Some shouted praises to Hashem. Some cried with joy for us. That was monumentally affecting, that our news brought others to tears.

A particularly memorable reaction came from someone I have known for 20 years, an old friend who plans to remain in America. "Of course," he said, "I will miss being in your physical presence. But it has been so hard for me to watch you in pain, to watch you feeling profoundly displaced all these years. I am so happy for you."

To have friends who love us and who truly, selflessly, wish us joy in this decision is a blessing beyond measure.

Hodu lashem, ki tov. Ki l'olam chasdo. Give thanks to Hashem, because He is Good. His kindness lasts forever.

Labels: , ,

Full post and comments...

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Eretz Yisrael is FUNDAMENTAL to Living a True Jewish Life.

[Picture of Northern Israel by Theo from Holland]

Hello, my name is N. and I was educated in right-wing yeshivas for many years and the attitude of most of my rebbeim and friends was: "if you can move to Israel-great. If you can't- no big deal, you can study Torah and be a good Jew in America too."

There was never an emphasis an settling the land or making alliya. Over time, as I became more exposed to the teachings of Rav Kook, I began to realize that the prolonged exile has had an effect on everyone's thinking - even the rabbis. We think of Eretz Yisrael as some kind of "icing on the cake" to our Torah learning and strict adherence to the mitzos. The reality, is that Eretz Yisrael is FUNDAMENTAL to living a true Jewish life.

I desperatly want to make aliya with my wife and 3 children. When I tell people this, they reply "Oh, thats not a very smart idea- your kids will have a very difficult time adjusting and it may even cause them to go off the derech". I feel in my heart of hearts that aliyah is such a special mitvah- equal to all the mitzos- and if I am doing a mitva for the sake of heaven, Hashem will not allow any bad to befall me or my family on account of the mitzva. Also, who says my kids can't get just as messed up- chas v'shalom- here in America? There are so many kids here in America that go off the derech, so why not take my chances in Israel where at least for all the future generations after my kids, they will have the benefit of being part of Israeli society- which truly is, sooner or later, going to be the only place on earth for a Jew to be.

The problem is that I am only qualified to be a Rebbi and my wife a kindergarten Morah. There is no shortage of those in Israel, so the question remains "how would we make ends meet?". I am willing to sacrafice alot to move to Israel but I don't know where to start. Is there a way you could help me to make aliya?

Labels: , ,

Full post and comments...