Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The OU and you...minus Israel?

For an organization that routinely talks about Israel, has a huge office in Jerusalem and actively tries to involve itself in Israeli life, and has Nefesh B'Nefesh events on their website, I found it rather disappointing that the Orthodox Union kept Israeli communities off their list in their upcoming "Emerging Jewish Communities Showcase."



Thinking of relocating? Israel's off the list...doesn't even make the cut.

Looking for an affordable Jewish community? If affordable, means sky-high tuition, then this ad is for you!
Kosher Stores? We have a few of those.
Close Knit Communities? Perhaps
Rewarding Retirement Opportunities? What could be more rewarding that retiring to the amazing Jewish community of New Orleans, LA??? (sorry, I'm sure it's a lovely community, with Jewish roots going back to the time of Avraham Avinu)

The OU is pushing the following vibrant communities...

Bay Area: Oakland and San Francisco, CA, Charleston, SC, Columbus, OH, Dallas, TX, Denver, CO Edmonton, AB, Canada, Houston, TX, Indianapolis, IN, Memphis, TN, New Orleans, LA, Omaha, NE, San Diego, CA, Seattle, WA, Vancouver, BC, Canada

Using just a tiny bit of extra effort, they could have combined this with the Nefesh B'Nefesh event (or at least, reminded people that Israel is ALSO an option).

There are great vibrant communities here as well!

Modiin, Beit Shemesh, Hashmonaim, Raanana, Kedumim, Shilo, Eli, Jerusalem, Elazar, Neve Daniel, Alon Shvut, Givatayim, Ginot Shomron, Petach Tikva, Be'er Sheva, Karmiel, Maalot, and many, many others.

Hey OU -- if you want your Torah Tidbits circulation to rise, why not remind people that aliya and Israeli communities are also an option for Orthodox Jews.

hat-tip: The Beit Shemesh Burka Ninja Squad


Wherever I am, my blog turns towards Eretz Yisrael טובה הארץ מאד מאד

38 comments:

MoChassid said...

This is a problem in general in the MO world. For example, in the schools they talk a big Zionist game but fall very short of advocating aliyah. (And the results reflect that approach).

nikki said...

you're 100% correct mochassid. they fully support aliya... for someone else's kid.

Anonymous said...

Excellent points! Though I live in one of the more "established" out-of-town communities, Cleveland, I find myself clicking on the NBN website quite often...the "pull" gets stronger.

Tzvi said...

Hey! You forgot Talmon! We're closer to the original Muqata!

The back of the hill said...

The OU is pushing the following vibrant communities...

Bay Area: Oakland and San Francisco


Vibrant? Yes, if you include a fair amount of anti-Semitism and anti-Israel sentiment in your vibrancy. Along with apathy.

Screamed vitriol against Israel at peace demonstrations is par for the course. As well as arguments with complete strangers over what frightfull evil Nazis those Jews are.

By and large, the Jewish bodies in the Bay Area are either studiously avoiding any semblance of partisanship, OR have actually been subverted by anti-Israel Jews - JVP and Bay Area Women In Black being examples of two anti-Israel organizations that have supporters and sympathizers in many shuls and many organizations.

However, the shul in Berkeley that I was at last Thursday is much to be recommended. And is indeed vibrant.
[See here: http://www.cbiberkeley.org/ ]

There are other good shuls in the Bay Area also.

For the considerably less shtrenge leite, there's also congegation Emanu-El, out in the avenues.
[See here: http://www.emanuelsf.org/aboutthetemple.htm ]
It's a lovely building, and has a wide range of services and programs.

-----

The Bay Area is, as someone once said about somewhere else, "a nice place to visit, but you probably wouldn't want to live there".

Unless you already do.

Baila said...

Disappointing, isn't it?

On the bright side, glad to see Modiin topping your list. :)

Fern said...

Hey, don't feel bad. Cherry Hill, NJ didn't make the list either. I have never met a group of people more convinced that they have found the Jewish heaven on Earth than people who live in Cherry Hill. If there is such a thing as Jewish evangelists, they are it.

Some of the advertising for those communities is downright disingenuous. I know where the shul is in San Diego and it is *not* two hours away from the LA Jewish community. Maybe if you're driving 90 MPH, but definitely not if you're driving during the daytime when there is almost certainly traffic (even on weekends). I think a more realistic expectation is 3-4 hours during non-rush hour.

tnspr569 said...

Quite disappointing, but not entirely surprising.

::sigh::

The responses one receives when mentioning aliyah...

Lion of Zion said...

JAMEEL:

great catch. you should send a link to the OU and see if they address this.

MOCHASSID and NIKKI

i've heard about this but i never witnessed it in my own MO circle. i have friends with siblings in israel and all had the full support of their parents.

TZVI:

i visited talmon for shabbat when i was in yeshivah. it is a nice community

Sara E said...

*sigh*

That armchair is apparently very comfy, and comes with a highly sophisticated remote control box.(Available at Target.)

Tx for the hat tip, J.

Jack said...

If I lived in cleveland there is no doubt that I would have moved as soon as I was capable of it.

The good old OU, what do you expect.

Sara E said...

And another thing:

see

http://gilbenmori.blogspot.com/2004/12/aliya-apology.html

This is not the first time the OU, under its current leadership, has dissed the community in Israel.

I had forgotten about this, but now a fuller picture emerges.

Rafi G said...

the OU has never really advocated or pushed aliyah. At most they are tolerant of it.

Abbi said...

I haven't seen NBN pr, but do they push the tuition issue? I think now more than ever there are alot of advantages for making aliya, even for North Americans.

JoeSettler said...

We need some brave American rabbis willing to make Aliyah and convince their congregations to follow them.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Sara E: I'll be posting more later -- the link you posted opens up a whole ugly can of worms (under OU hashgacha)

Lurker said...

Rewarding Retirement Opportunities? What could be more rewarding that retiring to the amazing Jewish community of New Orleans, LA??? (sorry, I'm sure it's a lovely community, with Jewish roots going back to the time of Avraham Avinu)

In all seriousness: I recently visited post-Katrina New Orleans, and found it to a ghost-town, Jewishly speaking. The number of observant Jews remaining number less than 100 -- and most of those are looking to leave! The little that remains is kept on life-support by the local Habad house, which often cannot even round up a minyan on Shabbat. For the OU to promote this microscopic, pathetic remnant of a community as "growing" and "vibrant" is nothing less than out-and-out deception.

Arthur said...

Jameel et al

Kidumim, and Karnei but not Zufim? What Zufim is not Vibrant?

Commenters re bay area - currently we are doing 2-3 in San Jose for my company to say that there is any connection in this area to Israel except the passing Sherut Leumi Girl would be an overstatement.

In the shul in San Jose the Rabbi gave a curiously long and load vitriol about the pigua at Mercaz Harav and during this almost 45 minutes tirade did not mention once anyone Rav who had spent any significant time in Israel. Not Even Rav Kook Z"L.

I have been told by this person that since I say Hallel on Yom Atzmaut twice, once at night and once during the day, with a bracha that I am a hard core National Religious Zionist - a Minority Exteremist at best.

"Real Zionists Vote! They do not pay dues!!"

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Arthur: Of course! Tzufim rocks :)

(And How could I possibly forget Talmon, Dolve, Kochav Yaakov, Kochav Hashachar, Har Bracha...)

Jerry said...

Jameel-

As someone who has been looking for a place to move, I found that the prices of houses in potential communities were through the roof. Building over the green line (at least in places that we looked) has slowed to a crawl, and prices anywhere close to J-m or TA are astronomical.

Maybe I'll move back to Charleston. Or Columbus. Or Denver...

Lion of Zion said...

"We need some brave American rabbis willing to make Aliyah and convince their congregations to follow them."

the rabbi of my local MO shul made aliyah (to modiin?) this summer

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Jerry: Been to Maalot lately? Karmiel? The Galil? The Golan? The Negev? There are plenty of places that are cheaper than the merkaz (similar to the way the "new vibrant communities" in the US are cheaper.)

And education costs? How can you seriously compare them?

RR said...

I wouldn't want to live in most of those places even as a non-Jew, much less as a religious Jew. Seriously...Omaha? Indianapolis? I know people who live/lived in those cities, and they ain't "all that"! New Orleans? I mean, really, did they pick these cities out of a hat? I'm sorry if I sound mean, but I have to agree- most of the Israeli cities you mentioned have it all over those American ones! And yes, I'm partial to Ra'anana. Allow me to give my city a bit of good press by saying that it is a wonderful place to live!

Jerry said...

Jameel-

that's my point. if you work in TA (or J-m), you can't afford a house. trust me, i looked in Haifa, but there weren't nearly as many opportunities there as in TA.

chardal said...

*Cough* *cough* Yad Binyamin *couph* *couph*

MoChassid said...

Lion

My son moved to Israel; all I'm saying is that it had nothing to do with his MO schooling.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Jerry: There are affordable solutions in Gush Dan. Maybe not a house, but apartments. Go a bit farther north and there are options. (Kvish 6 makes things much more bearable)

Chardal: my bad! :)

MoC: I guess you did a great parenting job!

Jerry said...

Jameel: "Maybe not a house, but apartments."

And there lies your problem. Many Americans (who live in the suburbs) are used to a house. They don't even view it as a luxury. It's just what is.

They can't get that here in a place that's affordable and close to the merkaz.

Anonymous said...

Did you all forget this?

-suitepotato- said...

It's not enmity or ennui towards aliyah, it's more of a recognition of Israel not being as close to home where they were born and raised, right here in the USA.

The logical extension of aliyah for everyone is Jews being in one place. As in, no longer, "oh I know some Jewish people. There's Larry in receiving, and Karen in accounts reconciliation and..." and becomes, "aren't they some people from way over in the middle east or something?"

I understand the desire for the Israeli community to see aliyah made more, but no matter the religion being American is like being anything else. You have a certain attraction for where you're from. There's lots of Italians who go on about "the old country" but even if the Pope told them Italy was their proper home, they aren't leaving Chicago.

That being said I found it sad that Raleigh, NC wasn't on the list. Their congregations are very nice.

Anonymous said...

The American Jews who haven't yet made aliyah, are still sending plenty of $$ to make sure that the yishuvim are thriving. With NYC becoming astronomically expensive, American Jews are looking south and west as alternatives. Had they made aliyah, expect less dollars for your yishuv.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

anonymous 5:26: I don't think my yishuv thrives on handouts (in fact, I know it doesn't).

If NYC is so astronomically expensive -- why not look at Israel as a viable alternative? Why doesn't it even get a mention?

anon 10:09 Hey, I forgot I made that Olmert graphic! :)

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

anonymous 5:26: I don't think my yishuv thrives on handouts (in fact, I know it doesn't).

If NYC is so astronomically expensive -- why not look at Israel as a viable alternative? Why doesn't it even get a mention?

anon 10:09 Hey, I forgot I made that Olmert graphic! :)

Arthur said...

Anonymous

Hmmmm interesting point

dont you think however that Israel, or any country for that matter but we are talking about Israel, would be better served by people moving and adding to the economy and generating economics as opposed to donating money? isnt that the idea to create a thriving place that does NOT need handouts.

Charity is nice but is more about the guilt of the giver then anything else.

"Real Zionists vote, they do not pay dues!!"

G said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
G said...

Will you relax.

Moving to Eretz Yisroel is a little more than simply "relocating" wouldn't you say?

oh, and jack...I hope the candle stick does irreparable harm:)

yoni r. said...

Jameel,

You're forgetting that the full name of the OU is the Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America.

While promoting Aliyah is commendable (and they do so, or at least pay lip service), their main function is to serve communities in the US. Encouraging people to move to Israel runs counter to this function.

And let's face it. No one is going to put off Aliyah because a community that the OU showed them in California.

Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Yoni R: While promoting Aliyah is commendable (and they do so, or at least pay lip service), their main function is to serve communities in the US. Encouraging people to move to Israel runs counter to this function.

Yes, but "Orthodox, Jewish" should automatically imply that they appreciate the mitzva of yishuv eretz yisrael. "Aliya" has nothing to do with "zionism" but with Orthodox Judaism. The Gra's talmidim moved to Eretz Yisrael long before the OU existed.

And let's face it. No one is going to put off Aliyah because a community that the OU showed them in California. Promoting the growth of fledgling American communities is counter productive to Jewish life in Israel.

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