6 Tishrei 5781 / Thursday, September 24, 2020 | Torah Reading: Ha'azinu
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Immigrant - or Refugee?    

Immigrant - or Refugee?

Your act of bravery will save your children and grandchildren to grow up in the Land G-d created especially for them, to be a part the ultimate Redemption.


For the second time in a century, governments are sanctioning physical brutality towards Jews. The last century saw the active encouragement of wiping us out. This time it’s passive. Local leaders have been stripped of the power to prevent anti-Semitism from becoming life-threatening. 


Even as local leaders decry the anti-Semitic massacres that took place in New York and New Jersey, rather than doing something about it, they pass the buck by blaming national leaders who don’t have the jurisdiction to erase this scourge in the streets and communities they are taking place.  


As the Jews of the tri-state area bleed out, those with the power to act are appeasing the butchers.  


This type of hatred is usually unleashed during times of need or desperation. We are living in the most prosperous times ever recorded in human history. Once America and Europe inevitably go into the next recession, it might just get a lot worse.  


The rage of Americans against Jews comes from two places: 

  1. 1. The left’s attempt to remove President Trump. All of the key players in his impeachment, Adam Schiff, Charles Schumer, and Jerrod Nadler are Jewish. Even the only witness from the American army, Alexander Vindman, is Jewish. To half the country, it looks like a conspiracy led by a powerful cabal to confiscate their liberties 


  1. 2. Huge resentment towards the elites on the left. Wall Street, Hollywood, and the Press are all seen as "controlled" by us. Jews are seen as all rich, powerful, famous, and influential. To the minorities on the left who haven’t caught up with us, success breeds contempt. They are insanely jealous of what we have achieved.  


You may not see eye to eye with me on these points, but the ones aiming their assault rifles and machetes at us certainly do. We are being encircled by anger and resentment on both sides and it is squeezing us like a vice that won’t stop.   



The Last Holdout 

It is still somewhat taboo to be an anti-Semite. But for how long? It is becoming easier to incite against Jews and get away with it scot-free. An athlete can lose his reputation from making a cryptic comment about African-Americans or homosexuals, but if a Congresswoman accuses Jews of being money hungry, there are no consequences.  


Eli Wiesel said that silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented, and that indifference is the most insidious danger of all. What happens when those who bear the responsibility to speak out are muzzled by political ambition?  


In 1991, when African-American mobs were tormenting Chabadnikim and Al Sharpton was urging them on, did then mayor David Dinkins tell him to stop? He was an African-American mayor who was elected by 0.1% over his rival Rudy Giuliani because 98% of African Americans voted for him. Was his silence a choice, or a political oxygen? 


Multiply that by hundreds of communities where Jews are under siege by groups who have more political appeal. Throw in the fact that new changes to the New York penal law make pogroms an offence not punishable by bail or any serious accountability, and its open season on the Jews 


Unless . . . 



Following the Path of Our Brethren 


There is only one place on earth where a Jew is free to live life safely inside his own flesh. There is one nation where he can wear a kippah, tzitzit, a beard, or simply a Chai on his neck with pride and security 


It’s the one place on earth G-d created specifically for His children to live.  


Thirty years ago, over half a million Russian Jews moved to Israel. They didn’t know the language, the culture, or the job market. The first years were tough, but they adapted. Today, they live prosperous lives, free from danger. Had they stayed in Russia, they would have been eaten alive by a ravenous Russian population starving from a 1990s depression greater than what America endured in the 30s.  


Ten years ago, over 100,000 French Jews made Aliyah. They turned Netanya into the French Rivera of the Middle East, and Ra’anana and Jerusalem into cities with some of the best cuisine on earth. Every town, even my hometown of Afula, boasts a French bakery.  


They made it.  


Moving to Israel isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either. You can learn the language. You can adapt to the culture. You can get a good job and live a quality life here. There are over 100,000 Israelis who came here from America. They are everywhere in Israeli society, from Ministers, Rabbis, Ambassadors, Doctors, Hi-tech entrepreneurs, leading salespeople and marketers, teachers, small business owners, and so much more. More and more people speak, or at least understand, English, and more and more companies offer services in English – it makes the adjustment that much easier. 


Giving Our Children Peace, Pride, and Potential 

The greatest benefit to moving is for your children.  


What world do they have waiting for them in a place where a madman can break their nose and get released the next day with no bail? Even if they “succeed,” what happens when they have to pay as much in Synagogue dues as they do in property taxes to pay for the small army that has to protect them? 


What happens when the other shoe drops and the masses join in the pogrom?  


You won’t have the option to leave; it will be forced upon you. For over 2,500 years, there has never been a Jewish community kicked out of their homes that were able to take their assets with them. In the last century alone, from Germany, to France, Poland, then Iraq, Libya, Egypt, and Iran, finally the USSR, Jews were allowed to leave with only their slippers. 


There is a story about a Jewish couple in Poland in the 1940s who were trying to escape the Nazis by selling their jewelry. When they complained to their neighbors that their offer was way below the value of the items, they laughed at them and said, “What does it matter? You will be dead in a couple of months anyway.” 


Coming home is an act of bravery. It is a life-long sacrifice for your children and an eternal service to Hashem.  


Why should they grow up learning to hide their identity, being afraid of who they are? Why should they live like it’s Berlin 1940 when they can thrive in Beit Shemesh 2020? 


Why should they be forced fed the horror to always keep their head down when there is a place on earth where they can be comfortable inside their own flesh?  


Why choose to live in weakness? 


Your selfless act of bravery will not only save your children, but can insure that your children and their children, and their children, grow up in a place free of fear for being Jewish, in the Land G-d created especially for them, to be a part of its revival, growth, and ultimate Redemption.   


You are the master of your children’s fate . . . and your own.  



David Ben Horin lives in Israel with his wife and children. 


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