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Monday, October 26, 2009

Do you think I should be allowed to make aliyah? Part II

This is the continuation of my email discussion from below:

He wrote:

Thanks for your response. I have been invited a few times to celebrate Shabbat with Chabad and actually chose to get a bris last year. However, I find life in Jesus very satisfying! I am also disgusted of the persecution of Jews by so-called Christians. Christianity in its early stages comprised only of Jews though. I may be going to Israel with Chabad this year, it should be great. I do find it ironic that you're trying to missionize me though!

I wrote back:

Nothing ironic about it - we are in the business of spreading the true faith as Abraham did. We were given a Torah and it is applicable to all mankind. Now that we are back on our homeland, the nations are turning to us and asking us about the truth. Christianity is bankrupt, and now many people are looking for the right way to serve the Lord. I hope, truly, that you will be able to shed the extraneous husk of the J-faith and that you will be able to serve G-d properly. This may be true: "However, I find life in Jesus very satisfying!" - but the question is whether G-d finds your life satisfying to Him.

He wrote:

Agree to disagree. Great talking with you!

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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Do you think I should be allowed to make aliyah?


I am a Jew (I have a Jewish mother) & was raised in a church. I am proud of being a Jew & I believe Yeshua is the Jewish Messiah. Do you think I should be allowed to make aliyah? Do you think I have the right to present my beliefs to Jews living in eretz yisrael & coexist should they choose to differ with me?


Dear Friend,

Israel is a Jewish state and not a Christian one. Your first goal seems to be a missionary one as you want to spread your "Gospel" to Jews in Israel. If that is your goal then maybe Aliyah is not for you. If you want to live as a Christian you can do so in many other countries - ours is not of that faith. We have suffered enough under the Christendom and we did not survive the persecution just to be finally missionized when back in our homeland.

Maybe you are ready and open minded enough to be exposed to traditional Judaism? Maybe you need a good helping of a Jewish Israel more than it needs Christmas? In any case, I wish you luck. May G-d direct you on His proper path.


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Sunday, October 04, 2009

Eretz Yisrael is FUNDAMENTAL to Living a True Jewish Life.

[Picture of Northern Israel by Theo from Holland]

Hello, my name is N. and I was educated in right-wing yeshivas for many years and the attitude of most of my rebbeim and friends was: "if you can move to Israel-great. If you can't- no big deal, you can study Torah and be a good Jew in America too."

There was never an emphasis an settling the land or making alliya. Over time, as I became more exposed to the teachings of Rav Kook, I began to realize that the prolonged exile has had an effect on everyone's thinking - even the rabbis. We think of Eretz Yisrael as some kind of "icing on the cake" to our Torah learning and strict adherence to the mitzos. The reality, is that Eretz Yisrael is FUNDAMENTAL to living a true Jewish life.

I desperatly want to make aliya with my wife and 3 children. When I tell people this, they reply "Oh, thats not a very smart idea- your kids will have a very difficult time adjusting and it may even cause them to go off the derech". I feel in my heart of hearts that aliyah is such a special mitvah- equal to all the mitzos- and if I am doing a mitva for the sake of heaven, Hashem will not allow any bad to befall me or my family on account of the mitzva. Also, who says my kids can't get just as messed up- chas v'shalom- here in America? There are so many kids here in America that go off the derech, so why not take my chances in Israel where at least for all the future generations after my kids, they will have the benefit of being part of Israeli society- which truly is, sooner or later, going to be the only place on earth for a Jew to be.

The problem is that I am only qualified to be a Rebbi and my wife a kindergarten Morah. There is no shortage of those in Israel, so the question remains "how would we make ends meet?". I am willing to sacrafice alot to move to Israel but I don't know where to start. Is there a way you could help me to make aliya?

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

"Rebbeim told us moving to Israel would be a mistake"

Hi Malkah,

I don't know if you remember me, but I'm X's wife, we met you at Y's house in Z-ville USA for dinner, before your husband spoke at the Shul here.

So, we put our house here up for sale, and we want to make aliyah. We were just there for my sister's wedding, and I miss it so much! For the first time, I came back to the US, and felt truly in my neshama that this is not where we're supposed to be. Yes, it's beautiful here, but it feels, all of a sudden, temporary - like a stop on the way to our real home - Eretz Yisrael!

Anyways, the reason I'm emailing is you is (besides saying hi) to ask you something: Many people (including our Rebbeim) have told us moving to Israel would be a mistake. That we (as charedi) wouldn't fit in with Israeli charedi, but that the other side would be too "modern" for us, and for our kids. My husband is Israeli, so that would definitely be a big plus to fitting in, but there would be many issues with our kids and schools. For example, most likely we would want to send our kids to a charedi school, but we wouldn't fit in, so then we would have to change also, so they'd fit in. And that Israeli kids in schools usually don't want Americans to mingle with them, so they have separate classes. And Israeli charedim don't like how the American charedim come and have barbecues and stuff. (Just superficial stuff, but to illustrate that it might be hard to feel accepted.)

I know your daughter is young, but where do you plan on sending her to school?

It's intimidating hearing our Rabbis tell us this, but I also feel that if G-d wants us (and the entire Jewish people) there, He will make it work.

Any thoughts?


Dear X,

Shalom! I'm so glad to hear from you - of course I remember you! Thank you for contacting me regarding your concerns. I'll try my best to answer them.

First, let me say that you are contacting me just after the most Israel-fear-related parsha in the entire Torah. Moshe sent 12 of our greatest men to Israel for reconnaisance, and 10 of them came back with horrible things to say, sowing fear in the hearts of Israel, and causing the entire nation to sin against G-d. Of course, in the retrospect of history, we learn that the nation of Israel showed a serious lack of faith by rejecting the Land of Israel. But trying to put ourselves in their shoes, we see there was a major propaganda campaign conducted by the "10 spies", all of whom were trusted and honored tribal leaders. Their status was meant to give weight to G-d's word. Instead, they used it to bolster their own opinions, their own human fears. The Torah teaches us that we pay for this moment of fear and doubt until today, and that unless we fix the situation, our children will also pay.

I am not a prophet, or even a great religious leader (or any kind of leader, for that matter). But I know, and I think you know, that G-d wants His nation to live in the Land of Israel. That being said, the question cannot be if. The question can only be how.

I heard once a beautiful dvar Torah that said that in every country of exile, the Jewish people had to change to suit the land. But in Israel, the Land changes to suit the Jewish people. Israel is a country still in flux - obviously, we still have some pretty serious issues to contend with, and we are in the process of forming a national identity. It's easy to get nervous about how to deal with various issues, including fitting into society, educating children, and just making it!

As with anything, faith is important. Rebbe Nachman of Breslov, incidentally, says true faith can only be learned in the Land of Israel. I believe that the same G-d who helps you get your kids to school every morning in Passaic will help you do so in Jerusalem, Ramat Beit Shemesh, Neve Daniel, or anywhere else. Even more so because of the big mitzvah you are trying to do by embracing Israel and anchoring your children in it.

On to the practicalities. I am not chareidi, so I can't speak to the intricacies of that culture. However, I have found that Israelis are largely accepting, supportive, and friendly, in all walks of life. This is the Middle East, and the grittiness which comes with that has not bypassed the Jews. But neither has the sweetness of the Jewish soul, so don't be afraid of Israelis!! You and your children will learn the real meaning of compassion, brotherly love, and familial concern in Israel, as you embrace a way of life involving true sharing, partnership, and familiarity which comes with having Israeli neighbors. Sometimes there's culture shock, yes. But I think you will be very pleasantly surpised.

Furthermore, who says you have to fully immerse yourself in such a challenging way? There are plenty of great communities full of Americans, with children in schools, Old Navy in the secondhand stores, and cans of cranberry sauce piled high. Beit Shemesh, Ramat Beit Shemesh, Neve Daniel, Efrat, Tel Tzion, Zichron Yaakov, Modiin - these are communities you should look into, because American olim have paved the way on a lot of issues you are concerned with.

One more very important point. I don't, G-d forbid, mean to disparage your rabbis. But lashon hara is lashon hara, no matter who speaks it. The Vilna Gaon teaches that the Sitra Achra works hard on the Gedolim, that they should reject the Land of Israel, because the Sitra Achra is vanquished when the Jews are on the Land. Even if they don't intend, by scaring you away from the Land of Israel, by slandering large groups of Jews and making you feel you won't be able to be family with them, they are falling under the sway of the Sitra Achra, probably because they are very high souls whom he is attacking.

X, you are going to make it in Israel. You are going to face obstacles, and you will worry and maybe even cry. But you will be better for all of your experiences, and so will your kids. You will be happy that you moved here, and you will thank G-d for the miracle of taking you out of the Exile. You and your family will grow in ways you never thought possible, and you will feel the completeness of your Jewishness, something you can only do here.

Buck up! This is the dream of 2,000 years! And this is giving nachat to Hashem, the most important thing you could ever do. As the Lubavitcher Rebbe always said -Israel, the Land that G-d watches from the beginning of the year to the end of year. Hashem will be with you. All the souls of all your ancestors who never had this opportunity will be with you. And your brothers and sisters will be with you.

Fear is the great sin of our time, perhaps the great sin of history, and we are ALL susceptible to it. But we can't give in. If we beat it, I believe we will merit G-d's love and satisfaction, and bring the redemption of our people and of the whole world.

As the Lubavitcher Rebbe said - tracht gut unt zeint gut - think good and it will be good! Do your research, make a careful plan, and then close your eyes and jump! This is a great adventure on which you're embarking - enjoy it!

All the best,

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Thursday, June 25, 2009

Must Read: Fantasy Aliyah!

Dear Yishai,

Hi, this is Fran. I was at your Kumah meeting in NY last year when you talked about the "aliyah boat". I have another idea for your listeners: I call it Fantasy Aliyah!

In the Jewish newspapers in NY they are advertising a Glatt Kosher, Shomer Shabbat Fantasy baseball camp with one of the NY major league teams. I root for the OTHER NY team, but in any case I would not spend ridiculous sums of money to go do such a thing since being a baseball player is not my fantasy.

However, I really wish I could make aliyah, but for personal family reasons I am not yet in a position to do so. My husband and I are working on a longer term plan, but meanwhile we are bringing the family to Israel this summer.

Instead of vacationing in the expensive tourist bubble of four or five star Hotels and fancy tours, I planned a trip where we are renting a house for three weeks in a community we would consider living in where we have some friends. We will be attending an unveiling ceremony, and also a wedding. We will visit friends, do some fun things for sure. Most important is that I want to learn to ride the buses, the train, shop in the supermarket, shop at the mall, visit the community pool, the library and practice my Hebrew. I may even rent a car and try driving in Israel (scary thought!)

At first I was calling this my pre pre pilot trip, but now I am calling it Fantasy Aliyah! For three weeks I'm going to imagine that I'm really an olah chadasha! My daughter even picked up an NBN hat for me at the salute to Israel parade!

I'm hoping that this will be a good experience, and make the idea of aliyah less scary. I'm hoping that I will get more comfortable with being in Israel, and that one day G-d willing we can make aliyah for real.

Meanwhile "Fantasy Camp" in Israel, is better than not coming at all! We hope to turn our Fantasy into reality some day soon.

You may read this email on air as an idea for your listeners, and I hope to visit Beit El and all my radio friends at INR.


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Thursday, June 04, 2009

President Obama

Dear Yishai,
I am truly sorry about the stance Pres. Obama has taken. I did not like the path the Bush administration took either. What I truly believe is the US State Department sets the path and it is up to the president how strongly they push. In my heart I knew Pres. Obama would be more ruthless. The church he attended for 20 years was obviously anti-semetic. As biblically promised the US is being cursed. We are cursing G-d's Chosen and trying to force them to give up their inheritance. Just stay strong and remember Leviticus chapter 25 starting in verse 23 the Land of Israel belongs to G-d and is not yours to give away...

The Bible is full of promises to you regarding the Land. My hearts desire is to encourage more Jews to make aliyah. Also to encourage Christians to encourage G-d's Chosen to be strong. Their return to eretz Israel is all a part of G-d's redemptive plan. The quicker we get this show on the road the quicker we will see the Meshiach. I am saddened to see what is happening to the USA. Last week I attended my grandson's High School Graduation. When the "Color Guard" marched in, Ralph and I were amongst the few that stood. I found myself grieving. Grieving for the "Norman Rockwell" country that I grew up in that is nowhere to be seen today. Pres. Obama is destroying this country daily. A man who bows to the King of Saudi Arabia will do so again. I am sure their greeting this week will be done outside the view of cameras. I do believe the demise of the USA is rapidly coming upon us.

Sometimes it scares me to see what is ahead of us. What I do know is my belief in G-d and His written words are a comfort to me. I pray HaShem will see fit to allow me to make more trips to His Land to work on the water park in Kdumim. That this will continue until I take my last breath or the Meshaich comes. Many of us at Fellowship are doing our best to encourage PM Netanyahu to stand up against the nations including the US. Also trying to impress upon Pres. Obama and our Washington representatives the importance to side with Israel and G-d and not with allah. I am afraid our words are falling on deaf ears. What I do know is our prayers are not falling on deaf ears. Remain strong and stand tall on every hilltop in Judea and Samaria. You have a friend in the highest of places. Remember one thing, those of the Jewish faith in Israel are the only people in the world to have G-d on their side.
Shalom, Geri

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Friday, March 27, 2009

From Facebook


Saw you on tuesday night live from jerusalem...also big fan of israelnationalradio, which I believe you run- I can't stand Ha'aretz.

I am Jewish, 19 years old, from Houston, Texas, and I want to make aliyah soon!


Hi Yishai,

I arrived here 3pm Israel time, and I had an Israeli dinner with 6 other Israelis celebrating my arrival!! What a day!!! Blessed and joyful all around! Hard flight, but made it in one piece. Landing in Germany, we flew in beneath the clouds. Hovering above the ground at 600 feet I could see the greyness of the land. It was filled with snow. The first glimpse of the ground gave me goose bumps...old old train tracks still in the ground for miles and miles. Were those by chance the same tracks that carried the Jews to the camps, I thought? Listening to the PA with the pilot and crew speak in German gave my heart a skip. Why was I going back to Germany, (even for just a layover) when it was so hard for so many Jews to leave?? After we landed I rushed to my next flight since the last one was late. That gave me no time to think about what had happend not so many years ago where I was standing. When I borded the next plane to fly to Israel, the plane was filled solid with Jews from every corner of Europe and the world!!! There were orthodox rabbis, student teen girls dressed in the most current European fashion, professors and mothers. All Jews. No one questioned what they believed. No one was there to condemn them. We were greeted with both German and English announcements wishing us a happy and safe flight to Tel Aviv...our HOMELAND!!! What joy I felt seeing so many Jews easily.. the land that we died in so horribly trying to leave 60 years ago. The next three hours didn't go by fast enough. Even though the pilot made record time in just 3.5 hours!!! Coming in from off the Mederanian Sea, I saw the gold lining of Tel Aviv and Haifa shorelines! I couldn't help but begin crying and singing 'Behold how good and how pleasent it is to live and dwell together in unity.'

Tomorrow I take a bus to Jerusalem! I am tired. I will write more later!!



Shalom Yishai,

Keep up the good work.I download the Podcasts daily and listen to you all on Israel National Radio. You are helping me defend Israel here in Ireland.Its not easy, the gov is left wing and Pro Palestinan.But I support Israel, and don't believe in a Palestine.

I hope G-d blesses Israel with more children,and more people making aliyah.

Keep up the great work.You keep our hearts warm.

Barack Obama is a distant relative of mine.He is hoping to visit his Irish Ancestoral home soon and I will hopefully meet him. Trust me. I will tell him my opinion: He is a wolf in sheeps clothes.Very dangerous.So too is that awful freak Hillary Clinton. My father always hated her. As I grow up I am becoming more like my father. He is hugely Pro Israeli.

Keep well and G-d bless.

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Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Big Project

Dear Yishai,

This was the response from my friend who moved to New Jersey from Tiverya to your last Blog post... He doesn't sound too impressed....and perhaps he brings up a good point.

"Yes, there are yordim (people who leave Israel) and people who do not make it and I am sure they do their best to discredit the Big Project "

For lack of a better term... words of a pompous fool...

The big project is Hashem and attaching to Hashem, not sacrificing your children and well-being for fulfilling Zionist agenda (not Hashem's aganeda per se)...

Many people have experienced Israel for the good, but just as many have ruined their family by believeing that we must sacrifice everything (including our children!) for the propaganda that right now the only place a Jew can be a Jew is in Israel.

Its not that we didnt "make it" in Israel, its that we made a choice regarding what would be best for our family...


Yishai responds: Sounds pretty angry. And I am sure he had some tough times. But... what a joke... what did he think I meant by the Big Project? The State of Israel is NOTHING BUT A KLI, a vessel, for the G-d's plan to ingather the exiles, the return us to Torah, and to build the Beit Hamikdash - that is the Big Project!

He writes: "Its not that we didnt "make it" in Israel, its that we made a choice regarding what would be best for our family..." Yes, he did what is best for his family, but not best for Hashem or the Jewish people - he is thinking about himself and that is ok, but there is a national calling right now and national thinking is what is needed.

(By the way, why did he move to Tveria - a totally un-American place with no people like him - setting himself up for failure??) In any case, setting up your children in Eretz Yisrael is best for them in the long run.

He also wrote: "Many people have experienced Israel for the good, but just as many have ruined their family by believing that we must sacrifice everything (including our children!) for the propaganda that right now the only place a Jew can be a Jew is in Israel."

Just as many? I don't think so. I think he would like to think so. But absolute numbers speak the whole story: in the 70's there were 3 million Jews here, now there are almost 6 million - doubles in 40 years. Can American Jewry say that? No. The future is here, and ask any economist and he will tell you, the future is not in America. Certainly for a G-d fearing Yid! A Jew can be a Jew anywhere - but not a fullfilled Jew... Just ask Moses what he would have chosen...

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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Jew Hatred and Fear

Shalom Yishai,

Sorry I haven't written in a while as I was busy studying for my actuary exam. Which I failed twice. I am going to give it one last change on May 21...

Yishai: I know you, and I know how smart you are. So your failure in this test can only mean one of two things: 1. This is not the career that Hashem has in mind for you - He may want you to be a great Rabbi, a great teacher, or a high-tech entrepreneur. Sometimes, when things don't go easily it is a sign that you need not push on this door. On the other hand, the common saying is 'if at first you don't succeed, try try again' and also 'three times a charm.' I wish you much success, but pray that Hashem will take you on a good direction - I think He is sending you a sign of some kind.

The only time I can really listen to you is when my real estate appraisal job is busy which it has been lately...I still really enjoy your show and get tremendous inspiration (and information)..but I must say stick to your old plan of encouraging Aliya because it is the right thing to do. At least in America, I have not felt or heard anyone talk about the slightest uptick in Jew hatred (notice I am not calling it Anti-Semitism), not to say that couldn't change on a dime. But the economy seems to be tanking and the Jews are suffering with the rest of them, but thank G-d Jew directed hatred hasn't changed. You seem to be trying to scare Americans into making aliyah "or else" the baddies will come get you. Stick to the positive message of choosing to move...

Yishai: I have been speaking of the positive reasons for making Aliyah for the last 10 years and I will always continue to do so. This is because the light of Israel is no propaganda tool. Living in in the Land of Israel is a great privilege, while building the State of Israel is the greatest project of the Jewish people in 2000 years. I have also refrained from talking about Israel-Jew-Hate for the last many years because I firmly believed that it was not palpable to most American Jews, and not even to most Jews of the Western Diaspora. However, things have changed, and Jew-hate has factually risen throughout the whole world including America. Talking about the rising levels of Jew-hate as a reason for Aliyah is not a propaganda tool or a PR tactic - it is simply a reality. Believe me, I wish it weren't so, and that all Jews would come home because they too would see the light and choose to be close to G-d. But the way it has always worked for the Jews is simple: either by hook or by crook - either the Jews choose Israel because of a higher vision, or the Jew-haters will boot them out. As a commentator and a broadcaster it is my duty to warn of the dangers and the shifts in society. I will continue to talk-up the light of Israel, but a dark cloud looms and I will keep calling them as I see them.

On a personal note, I feel as though aliyah is further and further away from me as being an actuary looks like it may not happen. I am stuck. NBN says not to change careers and move to a new country at the same time as that is a recipe for disaster (besides my wife would never go for that, she needs me to at least have a plan of how I will provide for her). So the plan is to get a job here that I could support a family with over there first, then make aliyah. Good luck finding that... I would love to work in media and do what I can to push our shared agendas. But I have no resume, no formal training, no education for anything of that sort. I get very frustrated hearing you say all I have to do is log on to ELAL with my credit card and fly to the land of milk and honey and all my problems will go away. You make it sound so easy...One of my best friends just moved back with his wife and 3 kids from Tiberius to Fair Lawn after having moved there in 2004 ( though he never was a the Zionist type), but still no one wants to move 9000 miles with three young kids.. Not to mention all the Israeli's coming to my shul looking for handouts....

Yishai: Faith and stubbornness, patience and prayer - these are your weapons. The Land of Israel is acquired through hardships but they are surmountable. Yes, there are yordim (people who leave Israel) and people who do not make it and I am sure they do their best to discredit the Big Project - but... there are almost 6 million Jews here, immigrants, Israelis, and the rest, who are eeking out a living and making it. It is not a fairy tale, but it is living the dream. When I talk about logging on to ELAL with your credit card and flying to the land of milk and honey I am talking about the ease with which you can break out of the slavery of the Exile in your mind. Bottom line is that you know that Israel is home - you want to live a full Jewish life with proper Shabbat, holidays, and Jewish education that is affordable and on a high level - you want to be close to Jerusalem!

You will make it here in the Land because you want it more than anything, because you will not leave this place no matter what, because America is not an option, because you are madly madly in love with this thing called Yiddishkyte, Torah, Hashem, EretzYisrael, and Mashiach. Clearly, the dark forces are trying to stop you from coming here - you have a high soul and you will make Hashem very happy when you bring your family Home to Him. You will find a sustenance, because He Who makes money is the Ultimate Provider. Simply put - don't be afraid, don't be afraid, don't be afraid! You may not have an immediate job waiting for you in Israel - but you certainly have a mission...

Keep up the good work and regards to your wife,

Yishai: All the blessings on you dear brother. I am looking forward to seeing you get off the plane and greeting you with a big hug. I pray that day will come soon.

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Thursday, February 05, 2009

The Diaspora Leadership Argument

Shalom Yishai,

I was listening to your show during which, among other things, you interviewed the American yeshiva student, Aryeh Wasserman. In asking him about how he was affected by his program, you asked him if he was planning on making aliyah & being a jewish leader in E'Y. While he said that making aliyah was "the idea" for himself, he raised the issue of Diaspora communities also needing Jewish leaders as a "justification" for otherwise committed Torah-Jews remaining in chutz la'Aretz. This is not a new argument, nor is it at all new to your show or to other shows on INR. One quaint counter-argument that has been levied against this point is the example of Avraham Avinu being commanded to make aliyah notwithstanding the impressive "missionary" work (lehavdil) he was doing in Ur Qasdim. This counter -argument is nice but I feel much more is needed...

Thus, I felt the need to add my proverbial 2 cents. As is see it, there are two fundamental errors inherent in the Diaspora leadership argument.

The first has to do with an assumption. It's an assumption which, as far as everything I've read and /or heard so far, seems to have been entirely overlooked and accepted as absolute truth. I'm referring to the assumption that maintaining a Jewish leadership in the Diaspora necessarily implies that rabbis must permanently dwell here, in chutz la'aretz and, consequently, that these same rabbis could not possibly make E'Y their permanent dwelling place via aliyah. This assumption is manifestly false.

Could not a council of rabbis be formed (with remuneration, of course!) which would, on a rotating basis, deploy rabbis from E'Y to serve as teachers and leaders in the communities of the Diaspora? Each one could serve a "tour of duty" of several months(from 2 - 4 I figure) in order to fulfill the needs of those remnants of b'nei Yisrael who would remain in chutz la'Aretz after the initial wave of exodus which would surely follow the announcement and subsequent aliyah of the rabbinate. Does not "from Zion emanate Torah"? Would not the teachings and leadership of this kind of rabbinate carry a different weight? Surely the answers are a resounding "yes". Surely this assumption of the Diaspora leadership argument demonstrates nothing other than the desperate weakness of spirit, of conviction and of vision of each rabbi who professes it or defends it. Those who are honest and capable of true self-evaluation know the truth of these words.

The second fundamental flaw inherent in the Diaspora leadership argument can be revealed on the flipside of the same coin. Volumes have been said about the imperative, especially in 5769, for b'nei Yisrael, acting both individually and as Am Yisrael, to lovingly embrace if not leap at the opportunity afforded by the miraculous re-opening of the gates to Zion. Indeed, not only has Hashem obviously rescinded his decree of geographic exile, but He has, in His abundant Kindness, created a context in which it has been, as you and many others have pointed out, easier and more pleasant than EVER in history for b'nei Yisrael to return to and dwell in Eretz Yisrael as Am Yisrael. The only thing it is not (YET), is more meaningful and more True than ever - but it will surely be so once we all come Home - for surely at that point the Ultimate Geulah will come.

You may be saying "Ok Yechiel, nice need-for-return-to-E'Y speech, but how does it relate to the 2nd flaw?". Well, in his comments Aryeh mentioned that part of this hypothetical rabbi's job in the Diaspora would be to essentially prepare and teach other "simple Jews" to make aliyah. However, it occurred to me that that simple Jew would not be unlikely to take that rabbi's words with a grain of kosher salt! Put another way, how can any Jew, who's serious about his Torah, who's serious about fulfilling Hashem's Will and who's serious about living a life of greater Kedushah rely upon the teachings, the rulings and the general leadership of any rabbi who, through his refusal to make aliyah, continues to refuse to acknowledge AND avail himself of this precious Blessing received from Hashem in 5769?

Now I'm not suggesting that because of this a rabbi all of a sudden forgets his Halachot, can't read Rashi anymore or becomes unable to understand the Gemarot. I am suggesting that when it comes to problems of substance and character - the things we REALLY need our rabbis for - a rabbi who refuses to make aliyah in 5769 undermines his own fundamental legitimacy. Thus he undermines the very reason for which he purported to not make aliyah in the first place!

Clearly, the Diaspora leadership argument carries no weight.

I acknowledge the brutality of the words I have chosen. However, as regrettable as they may be, their use is so crucial at this most critical time in our national history.

Think about it.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Three Amazing Letters - What do YOU say?

Dear Yishai,

I just have some questions that maybe your organization could answer for me. I am definitely not anti-semitic, however I have a problem with the Zionist movement. While I am an Arab-American woman who practices Islam as my religion and does not believe in causing pain or suffering to others, or shoving my belief system down another person's throat. I find it horrible at the state of affairs in Palestine at present. I believe myself to be a fairly open minded individual at an adequate level of intelligence. I would like to better understand what could make anyone support zionism when there is so much horror going on in Palestine.

The genocide that is occuring there reminds me of the holocaust and I wonder how your organization could support that ideology. I have respect for all people and religions. Please explain to me how having people move to Israel/Palestine and taking away the land that belongs to the people there by force, not allowing them medical help, poisoning their water supplies, closing roads, shutting off electricity etc. isn't exacly what Hitler did? If you believe that there is a GOD and the three religions that are montheistic believe that we all came from one creator then why do you support the atrocities going on there? I am not trying to attack you, but I don't really understand how any civilized person could support this. Feel free to e-mail me back. I thank you for your consideration.



Dear Sir,

If the Nation of Israel truly rests in the hearts of its people regardless of its physical location; why not petition the governments of the United States and possibly Canada for a land grant? I don't really believe that the Arabs will every grant you peace so long as you remain in the Middle East. But in North America; your children could finally thrive in security and safety.

If you don't think my suggestion is too insane; with your permission, I would be happy to start this very long process by writing to my congressman.

Thank you for considering my suggestion.
Susan, living in Arizona


Dear Yishai,

Because of the fiscal crisis in the USA and the world, I'm scared that people are going to start blaming the Jews, and I haven't heard of a fiscal crisis in Israel. I'm not so much afraid of the economy hurting me, but I'm afraid of the antisemitism that might occur. So, I'd like to make aliyah. However, my husband doesn't want to. Is it possible for me to do it without him, yet still stay married to him? BTW, we're Jewish, though not frum. Would I be comfortable not being frum in Israel?


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Thursday, September 18, 2008


Dear Yishai,

Okay so its been awhile since I've written to you and you most likely don't even remember me, but figured I should give you an update.

So since I last wrote, I've been corresponding with Rav Lazer Brody, who has helped me to overcome my negativity and discouragement regarding aliyah. He also suggested that I change my name and gave me one that he felt would fit me. So, I am no longer Gavrielah, I am now Tehilla....

My 14 year old daughter is now living in Israel! She'll be there for the next three years for high school and plans to remain there after she graduates, make aliyah, do national service, and start her family.

I am still planning on making aliyah. I will go as soon as possible of course, but definitely within the next two years. I'm now a single parent, so that makes it tougher, I have to pay off quite a bit of debt, but I have no doubt that I will get there. I am also praying for a miracle that will make it possible right away. I am so incomplete here in the U.S., knowing that I am not where Hashem designed me to be, where ALL Jews need to be. But I will get there and in the meantime, I will be doing everything I can here to support Israel, to help and encourage others to make aliyah, to learn Hebrew, to be a Torah-observant Zionist Jew.

Yishai, you and everyone else at INR have played such a huge role in my life, in getting me to this stage. Thank you for your encouragement in the past year on the air and via email. Thank you for everything that you do in service of Hashem. If one day I merit to meet you and Malkah, I will be so thrilled. May Hashem bless you all beyond belief.

Kol tuv,

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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back From the US

Yishai, Shalom,

Back from the US (SR) (United States Socialist Republic)

I just returned from my first trip to the US in 7 years.

It was great to see my friends and relatives, but everything else I found repugnant.

The US appears to me to be a country in decline. People still live in their McMansions, they handle laptops casually like notebooks, they are awash in IPods, IPhones, and other IGadgets, but there are worrying signs.

Americans always complain about the poor service in Israel. Yet in the US, I found myself being served by people lacking basic skills, who could hardly speak English, and when competent, they were rude. Whenever I called a 1-800 number for assistance, I reached a call-center in India.

In Israel, one can usually convince people to make an exception for extenuating circumstances, whereas in America, everything is by the book, if they are capable of reading it. Many American also complain about Israeli chutzpah and lack of manners. I have noticed some improvement since I have moved here, but I admit that there is room for more improvement.

On the other hand, I saw the famous American talent for waiting in lines in an orderly fashion, in an entirely different light. I found myself inadvertently behaving like an Israeli on several occassions, and the condemnation was swift. In addition, the same willingness to follow orders could be used for "other ends." Besides, the Torah was given to the Jewish people, a stiff-necked people, and not to well-mannered Lutherans in Minnesota.

As for the American dream, people spoke of declining real-estate values, many others lost a good part of their savings in the wreckage of Fannie Mae. Americans will not admit their attachment to "Gashimut" though. If "Gashmiut" were a shop at the mall, it would have a plastic faux-wood finish and would be called "Ye Olde Gashmiut" shop.

kol tuv,

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Monday, June 30, 2008

Sarah Wrote...

So we are making Aliyah this August. I waited until the very last minute to break the news to my family. It went somewhat different than I thought. I expected great tears and sobs and much weeping, in actuality what I got was "What are you leaving behind that I can snatch up before the next person comes along asking ?". Good grief! As the time grows nearer I don't think there has been a day that someone hasn't called to ask about the car, the weed eater, the microwave etc. One relative actually commented " man I feel like you are dying and we are divvying up all your stuff ". How sentimental!

We decided not to take a lift, much to the relatives advantage. We are only taking clothes and various sentimental items. They are happy to know we can't fit the bread machine and the chain saw in our 62 inch 70 pound luggage. So today sister-in-law carried off my dresser, a few small kitchen items and one fragrance lamp. I'm glad to know they all love me for my brains.

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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Obama's Speech at AIPAC

Shalom Yishai,

I have only heard snipits of Obama's speech at AIPAC. It is hard for me to believe what he said are his true feeling. Yes, his speech sounded very favorable to Israel and the Jews. Simply, Obama was fishing for Jewish votes. For 20 years this man sat in a church listening to Rev. Wright and his very anti-semitic sermons. How could he stay other than under belief of agreement? In the past, I attended a church and became a member of that church because of agreement of that church. Later as I systematically studied the scriptures I found the importance of G-d's land and His people. As the truth of the scriptures was revealed to me the truth of the true anti-Jewish nature of this pastor was also revealed to me. I could not stay with this church and feel comfortable. It took me a matter of weeks to make my decision to leave ---- not 20 years! Remember, Obama's reason for leaving his church (of 20 years) was to take the media heat off of that church not the teachings of Rev. Wright. So I do not believe his speech came from his heart but his drive to become president. Yet so many American Jews continue to support him --- how sad! The one thing we can count on is HaShem is in control........

Good Shabbos, Geri

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Yet One More Reason Passaic Is Better Than Israel

Shalom Yishai,

Once again as is my want, I found myself on Sunday at another chasuna in Lakewood, NJ trying to inspire the few Jews I spoke to about the importance of living in the Land and at least making them have to justify why it is "okay" for them to be living here. I must say, that as I continue to listen to your show and others at INR, I am getting better at articulating the case for aliya.

But an argument came up from a BT that I wasn't sure how to answer convincingly. It goes as follows: Why should I make aliya when here in Passaic I have a great job, a nice house, I am growing in learning and ruchnious with my morning in night sedarim, etc. Who knows what will be if I move there. Furthermore, as both my brothers already made aliya, who will take care of my ageing parents? That would be selfish of me. Ever hear of Kibud Av v'aim? He went on to further say (in a nice way) you Zionists only focus on one mitzvah which is a machlochus rishonim if it is even a mitzvah! If I move there, I know my shalom bayis will suffer, my parnossa will suffer, and my learning will suffer. So any gain from living in the land will be outweighed by the augmes nefesh from being there. Lastly, we are supposed to wait for Moshiach! (I have yet to find a source for this last "proof".)

In anycase, I do think he made some good points, namely: Why should someone who is growing in Torah and mitzvos, who is happy with the schools, community, etc., who has a decent parnossa make aliya? Why should he risk throwing that all away? We have plenty of aliya failures in the New York area who made aliya with starry eyed idealism only to have it crushed by the realities of the "harshness" of life on adamas ha kodesh...In my own reading of Eim Habanim Semeichah R' Teichtal seem to intimate that the call for aliya is to those Jews who are suffering in the gulus not those that are thriving...



Shalom Yisroel,

Thanks for your letter. Please listen to my 7 minute audio response by clicking ))))HERE((((


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Thursday, May 08, 2008

Our Flag

Listeners of my show asked how they can support Israel's 60th celebrations. I responded by saying that everyone should put out a flag of Israel - especially non-Jews! I also asked that people email me photos of the flag. Here are a couple of responses:


You asked for a flag of Israel flying in Oklahoma. You got it. I am in Chickasha, Oklahoma. Pronounced Chick-ah-shay. I would like to wish Israel a happy birthday. I listen you guys every day.

Letting you know we care.


Dear Yishai,

I'm HAPPY to submit pics of my support for Israel. My husband also helped put both flags up, side by side.

I dream of one day moving to Israel, but need prayers. Holding fast to the promises given to the Land of Israel and with faith that I may see Her become whole in every way as She was intended to be, I dream one day of moving to Israel.

I enjoy your shows and all the shows at Israel National Radio. Continue in that work. It's the only news I listen to. With LOVE and HOPE for Zion,


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Sunday, May 04, 2008

Busted for Praying!

Shalom Yishai,

Freedom of religion in America? Only if you are muslim. Then they will install footbaths for you in airports. It's true that Jews are arrested on the Temple Mount for praying, but those who use it as an excuse not to make aliyah should read the stories below:

Praying passenger removed from flight. An Orthodox Jewish man, who wanted to travel to San Francisco by plane, left his seat and went to the back of the plane to pray before the Flight 9 to San Francisco took off. He didn’t follow the flight attendants’ advices to return to his seat. As a result, he was ejected from the flight....

Jewish man removed from airplane for praying.

Some fellow passengers are questioning why an Orthodox Jewish man was removed from an Air Canada Jazz flight in Montreal last week for praying. The man was a passenger on a Sept. 1 flight from Montreal to New York City when the incident happened.

Man arrested at a Rosh Hashanah prayer meeting.

A group of about 100 people in Central Florida claim they were harassed by deputies during a Rosh Hashanah prayer service that ended with an arrest. The group was celebrating the Jewish New Year at an off-campus house near the University of Central Florida Wednesday night when deputies were called to the house.

Jewish passenger saying morning prayers on Chicago train causes panic by putting on tefillin, which other passengers thought to be wires of explosive belt.

A Jewish passenger on a Chicago train was arrested after fellow passengers accused him of being a suicide bomber

City of Los Angeles sends inspectors to shut down "illegal" Kol Nidrei Tefillah

kol tuv,

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Monday, April 28, 2008

Aliyah or Assimilation?

Shalom and Happy Passover!

My family was very secular, so I was raised as a very secular Jew. I awakened as an adult and decided to make aliyah. I had a very hard time because I was unable to think of a way to make aliyah (our shaliach we had at the time was NOT very helpful). I finally went and found some proof (duh, if my father's military records would prove Jewishness, why wouldn't mine?). Right on my VA (Veterans administration) records it states "Jewish". If this record would work to prove I am Jewish if it was on my father's records (which I could not get because of privacy laws) it will have to prove it if it is on my records. I have been trying now for 11 years and finally got the idea to try my own records to see if it is on them and sure enough it is...

Any way, I am so tired of the complacency in my local community. We have a building but no services. I had to twist their arm and finally got them to hold a half hearted Shabbat service. (Their is not one scheduled again for the time being. They only use the building for funerals and a communal Passover Seder.) They all are afraid to even admit their Jews in public (this is the reason for lack of services I was told). They all want to just ride below the radar and not be noticed and stick out. This is the type of fear and apathy, etc. that allowed the holocaust to happen. If we were more willing to fight for our rights, etc., less of us would have been killed by the Nazis and their supporters. I want info about how I become a member and what your organizations stands for and does.


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Friday, February 22, 2008

How Can We Help?

Shalom Yishai

I am a Christian Biblical Zionist, living in New Zealand and I listen to as many speakers on Arutz Sheva as I can, including you.

Today I heard the show where you focused on the MKs, the Knesset synagogue, pressing the politicians with a view alternative to theirs, and, most importantly, prayer.

I belong to one of many home groups that meet mid-week around the country (and around the world) to pray specifically for Israel. We are in the habit of imploring HaShem each week to speak His wisdom into the ears of the MKs, that their souls will be truly enlightened, and we ask that they will have ears to hear Him and the courage to do His will according to His Torah.

Now that I have heard you speak specifically on this subject, I write to ask for your suggestions and guidance: how best can we serve in this matter; what is the best way for us to pray so that Am Yisrael receives the blessing and benefit? We certainly sing to Him with joy (one of our songs is Hallelu et Ad-nai kol goyim) and praise Him for the wonderful things He has done, but we believe because He is limitless, infinite, that we can be bold enough to ask Him for more. We want Him to bless His chosen people and His land because ultimately, when the Jews are doing what they should be doing (if they can get the chance to do it, that is, when they're not having to fight off their enemies) then it is for the positive and practical improvement of the people of the world. We especially pray for the religious observant Jews in Israel that He will keep you strong and of good courage and emunah.

We read the Bible and follow the Parashat portion of the week (and Wow! how often events match the portion!), and ensure we keep up with what transpires as much as possible as well as keeping an eye on what could happen further down the track. Bearing this in mind, would it be in order for us to "press" the politicians as you mentioned in your show, and do you have any suggestions as to how we should do this? We desire to be accurate and always respectful.

Thank you for your show and the work you put into it, thank you for the time you have spent reading this, and thank you in anticipation of your response.

Shalom shalom

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Monday, January 07, 2008

If Everyone Would Be This Honest....

Shalom Yishai!

thank you for some of ur comments about making aliyah...

I'm struggling right now with the fact that I had originally wanted to make aliyah this month... I however, accepted a "good job" that will allow me to save some extra money, yet there in is a trap, saving money in the USA is like trying to collect water with a stainer! expenses always mount and "needs" are always pressing... I am sensing my galut/exile more and more... I do not feel at home even though I struggle to "be at home" - I work for a yeshiva here in chicago... a good paycheck.

I am struggling with not with my desire to make aliyah yet with the timing and functionality of my aliyah. Everyone has said "make sure you have a job when u go to Israel" yet when I went to Israel for the 1st time in 2004 I went with no expectations and no agenda, $900 in my pocket... I stayed three months, and got a job in Tel Aviv, where I actually made more money there then i would have in the USA... SO WHY AM I STILL IN USA/Galut? because I allow my passions for what i'm familiar with to override my concern for what Hashem has for me!

chas v'Shalom... I should use this job to save some mony and get the H*ll out of here... it means breaking up with a girl who may (or may not) be a good shidduch for me, it means leaving my mother (aging, nearly 75), it means leaving a child here in the USA (divorce situation), it means going beyond what is "commonly thought of as common sense" - emunah...

thanks for letting me vent! I have an open TIK, I have paperwork to complete might take me a month or two... who knows perhaps Hashem has put me in this situation so I can fight a little harder...
am chai Yisrael!

Hey, this year would be better than next year, yet next year might be more realistic than right now! whichever it is bezraht Hashem "not by might, nor by power, yet by His Spirit..."

todah! chaver,

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Thursday, November 29, 2007

Be Very Afraid

Dear Mr. Fleisher,

Greetings! Quite often when I listen to Israel National Radio, I hear you, among many of the other personalities, recommend that Jewish listeners should seriously consider making "aliyah."

I wonder if that is such a good idea. G-d in His great wisdom sent the Jews into exile. Was this possibly a way of Him making you not quite such an easy target? I am thinking of the old adage, "Don't put all of your eggs in one basket," or perhaps a more modern variation such as, "Don't put all of your United States Marines in one barracks in Beirut."

Or as I roared to one platoon many years ago when I served, "Spread out you ******** (expletive deleted)!"

I agree totally that the Jews were handed a raw deal for no reason whatsoever in many countries. However, "strength in numbers" is no longer all that accurate a statement considering the modern weapons of warfare and the devastation which they wreak.

Thank you. Keep safe and well.

Yours, ever faithfully,


Hello Yishai,

Why do you want all the Jews in America to go back to Israel? - It seems a strategic disaster to have them all in one place for their enemy to find.

Thanks, Becky


Subject: reverse aliya


I haven't read the news yet. I am scared! What happens now to all of you living in Israel, and not just the Shtuchim?

Will Israel be around long enough to make aliya to?

David from Brooklyn

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A 'Fringe' Response to Anonymous

Anonymous comments on this post:
"The Kumah mascots and the Kumatrix disagree. "What Kumah won't do to make their brand of fringe politics hip."..."Got home?"

It's just that some of you guys spew so much vitriol. And at the same time you do the things you criticize. I think it's important for someone to show you your hypocrisy. And I don't even get into the depths of it- the superficial is revealing enough.

There is good in these pages- the shmittah discussion, for example. And the basic aliyah message. But that's gotten lost in your larger fringe ideology. To really get into this website you have to believe that Jews and only Jews belong in Israel and the territories. You demonize the "enemy"- be it Palestinians, Olmert, Livni, the US, conservative Judaism.... This polarization is isolating- you can't have a real dialogue with anyone because we are all the enemy. So what do you accomplish? You become more and more convinced of your own agenda and more removed from the mainstream. And I don't care what you do in a vacuum, but your words and work have impact. I think it's important that someone point out your hypocrisies and let visitors to this site know that your views are far from universal.

My response after the jump

Dear Anon,

While I don't really understand the repeated allegation of hypocrisy, the decision to widen the scope of Kumah's Neo-Zionist message beyond promoting mass Aliyah was not taken lightly. I certainly understand the danger of all the strongly-held positions and sniping providing ear-plug fodder for anyone who is looking for it. But the point of the blog is to provide an honest, authentic voice of a real movement that can't be made to disappear by repeating "fringe" as a mantra.

In this day of media saturation, the only blogs I find worth reading are those with passionate arguments based on strongly held values. There is a huge swamp of timid journalism and self-congratulatory moderate extremists (extreme in their belief in the merit of an idea purely based on its being devoid of ideological bone structure).

I truly believe that there a Neo-Zionists on the left and would be completely open to having them join the blog as readers, commenters and bloggers - but I do not regret widening the scope of the blog's message to include politics though I myself am also sometimes annoyed by individual bloggers' posts picking fights with entire denominations over little things dug up by the amateurs at Ynet (i.e. The Great Mezuza Controversy). Not because these aren't discussions that should be had, but because the Ynet-based route to dialog is paved with ill intentions.

Lastly, your point about the lack of real dialog when opponents are considered the enemy is a blogosphere-wide issue. When someone who is but a bunch of pixels to you attacks your entire worldview, it takes a very secure an confident individual to respond in a loving, yet honest way. Sometimes a good thrashing is truly in order. Often it is not and reflects poorly on a blogger or the blog he/she writes for.

Post-lastly; you wrote: "I think it's important that someone point out your hypocrisies and let visitors to this site know that your views are far from universal."

I do not state or believe that our views are universal. I believe it rubs you the wrong way to see Jews, with and without kippot, unapologetically saying the things we say. That alone threatens your thought-stopping mechanism of being able to label something "fringe" and dismiss it without letting it roam free in your consciousness alongside other ideas, allowing for the survival of the fittest.

Thank you for reading. Please keep it up. You are welcome to choose a moniker that gives you just as much anonymity as "anonymous" but allows us to know it is you when you comment and respond. The Kumah community is universal in its openness to dialog - and I bless our bloggers on this eve of Rosh HaShanah to always type with love and think twice before ripping entire communities of Jews or gerei toshav.

Shana Tova,
Ezra HaLevi
Neo-Zionist Blogmaster

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