Congresswoman Grace Meng Responds To Jewish Community

Blue and White: Shmuel Sackett

Don’t Run Away

 I consider myself an Aliyah “cheerleader and motivator” which means that I encourage Aliyah from a...

Read more: Don’t Run Away

Colors: Green Color

I received an email from a friend yesterday. He wanted to know how I’m doing and simply asked, “Hey, Shmuel. How are you and the family during these crazy times?” That simple, innocent question started me thinking, and here’s what I concluded: These are not “crazy” times – they are “challenging” times. Let me explain.

Last week, I wrote an article about the need for Jews to move to Israel. While I focused primarily on the positive aspect of aliyah – fulfilling the national dream of 2,000 years by building a strong and proud Jewish state – I did state that, at times, Hashem sends a “Pharaoh” to drive the Jews out against their will. I urged all readers to act now, and make aliyah in a beautiful and happy way, and not wait for the modern-day Pharaoh. As a result of my article, I received many emails, but one of them stood out above all the others. When I read it, I couldn’t believe the words that were written. The email was short, yet powerful and poignant, and it delivered a message that left me speechless. Here is the email – word for word:

If you think that elections in Israel are finally over, think again, because the fun is just about to begin! The only part that’s over is election day – where people voted for what they wanted (or so they thought!). So, yes, the actual democratic process is over, but now comes the “wheeling and dealing” in an effort to make a coalition of 61 MKs. The reason why I say it’s fun is because this is the part where you see what your party is truly worth. Will your party be honest to their campaign promises and ideology, or will they sell their birthright for a bowl of lentils? In most cases, you get stuck with the lentils.

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.

Ask any Israeli (certainly the under-30 crowd) who Asaf Goren is and he will tell you the same thing: “He is Israel’s Ninja champion.” In case you’ve been asleep the last few years, this new sport is sweeping the world. Yes, when I hear the word “Ninja,” I still think of guys in black costumes swinging swords or turtles named Michelangelo and Leonardo but that just shows my age. Today’s world is much different. The modern-day ninja is an incredible athlete who uses his/her strength and agility to successfully pass a rigorous obstacle course. This attraction has turned into a sport with millions of followers, as the ninjas compete against each other for serious prizes.

As I read these Torah portions, I cannot help but think about the 12 Tribes. We have read about their birth and many of the challenges they faced. They confronted Esav, battled with Shechem and now they are in the midst of the major story with Yosef; his dreams, their response and ultimately their encounter with him in Egypt. The tale of these 12 men are not just some bedtime story… they are the foundation of Am Yisrael! Yet, as tragic as it sounds, as the pages of Jewish history were being written, 10 of these 12 tribes disappeared into thin air. They were exiled from Israel (about 2,600 years ago) and never seen or heard from again. Yes, there are Rabbis and historians today who make various claims about certain people around the world – and these must be verified – but, by and large, the 10 tribes are gone.

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