Dear JewSchool and Jewlicious,
A steady flow of web traffic continues to stream into Kumah's Aliyah Revolution website
where folks continue to enjoy the flash film.
We've also been receiving some amazing feedback. We'll get to that later. But we also received some, uhm, let's call it, not so positive feedback. Most notably in this vein were your two very popular Jewish blogs: JewSchool
Mobius of JewSchool posted a well thought out piece
on how our premise was way off base because in fact, there is no exile today. Notable he also parethetically stated he was, in his own words, "put off by the whole Third Temple thing." I say notable because he has correctly identified precisely the message of Neo-Zionism without realizing it. Kumah's definition of Neo-Zionism
declares "the future of Israel is not only about creating a defensive haven for Jews; rather, it is about the triumphant and noble future of the people of Israel in the Land of Israel."
Neo-Zionism is a direct attack on Post-Zionism. Post-Zionism a subversive anti-ideology, claiming that the monumental project of building a Jewish country and unifying all Jews within its borders, has peaked and is now on the decline. While post-Zionism means that the Zionist project is over, Neo-Zionism proclaims a renewal of the Zionist spirit to build and be built in Israel.
Clearly the physical galut is over. This is exactly why there is little future for the classical Zionist mindset. Indeed classical Zionism has already fulfilled its mission of ending the physical galut spectacularly. The spiritual galut however remains as strong as ever. Today Jews, both religious and non-religious alike, don't fully understand the meaning of being a Jew nor our imperative national mission.
Rabbi Pinchas Winston elaborates on this point in his new book Talking About Eretz Yisroel: The Profound and Essential Meaning of Making Aliyah.
Perhaps one of the most devastating effects of exile on the Jewish people is how practical it has made us. Practical to the point of living contrary to some of the most important Torah ideals, such as bitachon and emunah - trust and faith - in God. We have become, over the centuries, so sensible about everything that we do that our line of reasoning matches that of the gentile nations amongst whom we live in areas in which we ought to be different...
Being a Jew, Rabbi Winston explains:
...is about being spiritual opportunists, which means constantly seeking out and understanding where true spiritual opportunity resides, and then pursuing it without a fear for what it may cost us in terms of material success and comfort. And, it is about using belief as a means to see, an ability we seem to have let fall by the wayside as we settled into this final exile in advance of Moshiach's arrival. Hence, there is little that is physically-practical, on the outside, about making aliyah. But, given the nature of the Jew and the goals of the nation, Eretz Yisroel is the most spiritually-practical place in the world for a Jew to live.
For many Jews this is a very difficult pill to swallow. How could all the comforts of the exile be, as Dr. Moseus tells Neo, "a prison for your soul?" Neo however, without hesitating swallows this very pill and afterwards everything else falls into place.
If it's the spirituality you are after, nothing else matters... not even a raise. After all money can't buy you spirituality.
Mobius, if you are "put off" by the Third Temple you are "put off" by spirituality. The Third Beit HaMikdash is the very essence of spirituality. Of course without any spirituality we agree you are correct - our very premise is completely off base. But it is this age-old line of thinking, which Rabbi Winston refers to, that is exactly from what Neo proclaims you must "free your mind."
Jewlicious, you also, did not appreciate what Neo-Zionism means. The very title of Michael's blog posting Religious Zionism makes it to 1999
(Warning: link contains profanities) inaccurately attributed Kumah's motive for the film to "Religious Zionism." In that vein, Micheal continued to rant in a rather animated fashion about how bat... hmm, about how off base we were with the film.
Michael, we agree with you if you use classical Religious Zionism as your yardstick. We however use Neo-Zionism. If you think Neo-Zionism sounds crazy - it is precisely because you have yet to free you mind. And another secret, you can be trapped in the spiritual exile even if you are residing in the very Old City of Jerusalem! This is about finding God and finding spirituality regardless of whether you already own a Teudat Zehut.
Cherry tomatoes, tasty as they are, have nothing to it.
CK, one of the founders of Jewlicious diplomatically posted a comment on our website.
This is from the end of that comment:
Michael who wrote the post in question just made aliyah. He's the kind of person you need to appeal to and if he was turned off by the production, how will people not as committed to Zionism react?
Again - that's the point. We are not talking about Zionism. We are introducing Neo-Zionism.
So please accept our criticism in the spirit that it was meant. forgive us also if you found our irreverent tone offensive. Take something positive from what we said and hopefully your future efforts will be more effective.
I wish I could be more positive. You all clearly worked very, very hard on the animation - technically it's pretty impressive. I just honestly don't think it will have any impact beyond those who already share your beliefs and are already committed to aliyah.
Now CK - just below your comment another visitor, Yitzchak, posted this:
At first glance I thought I was seeing the Matrix all over again. Then something inside of me my "neshama" starting rumbling. I completely understood and agreed with your character Neo. I believe as Jews we all have an inate (sic.) desire to return to OUR homeland! Your film simply motivates me and I am certain other Jews to do what we know we NEED to do! Sending money to Israel is one thing. Living in Eretz Yisroel and being a part of our past and future is a much more powerful choice we can all make! I commend you on making such a powerful film and really showing each of us what we can do to make Israel a better place. Please keep up the good work and know that you have at least convinced one more Jew to return HOME!
Hatzlacha in all your future endeavors and Todah Rabah!!
CK, know that we at Kumah do forgive you guys for that tone you took, but ask that you meet Yitzchak, a Jew that has freed his mind!
Or meet Yair K. who e-mailed us this along with heaps of other similar email that landed in our inbox:
I saw the film and checked out the website and it made me realize how I've been putting off Aliyah and and I wanted to make my first step by joining the army. How do I go about making it happen?
Or meet Kathy
who blogged as follows:
I've seen it three times. It's made me cry three times. I hope you enjoy it as well.
Mobius, Michael and CK, Jews everywhere are freeing their minds! Help us get the message out. It's about Neo-Zionism. It's about being a Jew - but being a Jew the way a Jew was meant to be a Jew!
Signed with Ahavat Chinam,
Your Brothers and Sisters at Kumah
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