In the last several weeks, I received dozens of emails and messages from people telling me to write an article about why Jews in America need to make aliyah now. “Shmuel, tell them that anti-Semitism is on the rise and that Jews need to get out now!” Okay, I’ll do it. So here goes: Jews in America: Anti-Semitism is on the rise, so get out now! There – I did it! And now, after having fulfilled that obligation, let me tell you what I really think.
Jews need to get out of America, Australia, Brazil, Morocco, and France – and come to Israel – for one reason and one reason only! They need to leave Canada, South Africa, Italy, Germany, and England and move themselves and their families to Eretz Yisrael because they are Jews and that is the only place where the Jewish nation exists. Period. Simply put, there is no Jewish nation outside of the Land of Israel and it is there – and only there – where the Jewish nation exists, grows, and thrives. Yes, Jews have built nice lives for themselves in various places around the world with yeshivos, shuls, mikvaos, eiruvim, Daf Yomi shiurim, chesed committees, and kosher Chinese restaurants; but all those things were just “in the meantime” – they were never supposed to be permanent! The wonderful frum community that sheltered us for 2,000 years from the gentile world was never meant to replace the building of our nation. It was designed to keep us strong until the day came when we could go back home.
Prague, Berlin, Vilna, Casablanca, and Barcelona were temporary dwellings – that is very clear. But I have news for you: That same “temporary dwelling” applies also to Kew Gardens Hills, Teaneck, Skokie, and Golders Green. These towns served a very important role in our history, but the time has come to say goodbye and go “to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey” (Sh’mos 3:8 – ArtScroll translation).
It is important for me to stress that this has nothing to do with the recent attacks in Monsey, Poway, Pittsburgh, or Jersey City. Leaving the lands of the nations and going home to build, farm, and fight for our own nation is something our grandparents dreamt about for 2,000 years – and now it is here, baruch Hashem! Jews of all kinds can finally come home and write history! We can bring life back to areas mentioned in the Mishnah, resettle towns originally conquered by Joshua and follow in the footsteps of King David. How can a Jew not jump for joy at that opportunity?
And yet, most of us don’t budge. We prefer Baltimore over Beit Shemesh and Toronto over Tzfas, because those Jewish communities are perfect… or so we think. The bubble we live in has everything we could ask for, including a wonderful spiritual life, so why change?
Dearest friends, did you read the last Rashi in Sh’mos? Hashem told Moshe that He will send out the Children of Israel with a “strong hand.” Ask every Jew what that means, and they will tell you that the explanation is simple: Hashem will use a strong hand against Pharaoh – but that’s not what Rashi says! Rashi writes that the verse “and through a strong hand will he drive them from his land” means that Pharaoh “will drive Israel out against their will”! Of course, it was Hashem who punished the Egyptians severely, but did the Jews get the message and leave on their own? No! It was Pharaoh himself who had to “drive Israel out against their will.” Is this what you want? Do you really want a modern day Pharaoh to rise up and eventually drive you out?
Don’t ever wait to make aliyah like that! Don’t leave Queens, Lakewood, or Melbourne because of some Pharaoh. Leave because of the positive reasons: the beauty of the land and the chance to do something that millions of Jews before you davened for every day of their lives. Our grandparents literally cried rivers of tears to have the chance we have today – so come home now. Raise your family in a Jewish country – your country! Learn to speak the holy tongue – your language! Plant trees and watch them grow in your soil! Don’t wait a single day longer. Start making the preparations today. Call Nefesh B’Nefesh and they will help you every step of the way – you are not alone! And when you receive your date for aliyah, let me know when you’re coming; I’ll meet you at the airport and we’ll thank Hashem together for that historic moment.
Am Yisrael Chai!
Shmuel Sackett is a 100% product of Queens. He was born in Middle Village and moved to KGH shortly before his bar-mitzvah. He graduated from YCQ (1975) and YHSQ (1979). He was Havurat Yisrael’s first Youth Director (4 years) and started the first 2 NCSY chapters in Queens. Shmuel made aliyah in 1990 and co-founded Manhigut Yehudit, together with Moshe Feiglin. His website is www.JewishIsrael.org Sackett is married with 6 children and 4 grandchildren. He lives in Herziliya Pituach.