In an opinion piece in the Jerusalem Post, columnist Michael Freund claims that the lack of Aliya is a huge failure on the part of Orthodox Judaism, specifically in the United States.
He explains it as follows:
Seemingly by every measure, this is a time of triumph for Orthodox Judaism in the United States. Just five decades after being written off as a relic of the past, Orthodoxy in America is on the upswing, spiritually, demographically, socially and economically.
More Torah is being studied on the continent than at any time since the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus…
And yet, despite its phenomenal expansion, there is one area where American Orthodoxy has clearly failed to deliver: aliya to the Jewish state.
Each year, an average of just 3,000 North American Jews emigrate to Israel, over 80% of whom are Orthodox. That translates to about 2,400 Orthodox Jews who annually make the long journey home to Zion, which is approximately one-third of 1% of American Orthodox Jews. That is little more than a drop in the bucket, and an embarrassing one at that…
[I]ronically, even as many American Orthodox Jews drift to the right and adopt various stringencies, few of them seem to seek Halachic guidance when it comes to the cardinal question of whether they should move to Israel.
I do not mean to cast aspersions on anyone or their life decisions. Making aliya is no simple task, and I do not think it is my right or anyone else’s to pass judgment.
But if people are concerned enough about Jewish law to ask questions about whether they need separate meat and dairy salt shakers, shouldn’t they also query their rabbi about where they choose to live out their days on this earth? Now more than ever, Israel needs Jews. A flood of Orthodox American Jews making Aliya could reshape Israeli society in so many positive ways.
For two millennia, our ancestors turned to face Jerusalem three times a day every day, pleading with the Creator to “gather us in from the four corners of the earth.”
Doing so has never been easier than it is today.
You can read his full article on the Jerusalem Post site.
Do you agree? Is this a failing on the part of Orthodoxy?
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