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February 20, 1987 - Image 30

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1987-02-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

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.

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Dais Chabad Torah Center

of Congregation Bais Chabad of West Bloomfield
Invites you to

"An Evening with
Zalman I. Posner"

World renowned Chassidic
Philosopher and Lecturer

Who will speak on

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Sunddy, March 1, 1987 7:30 p.m:

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THE LECTURE WILL BE FOLLOWED BY A DESSERT RECEPTION
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30

Friday, February 20, 1987

Aliyah From . America
Increasingly Religious

DAVID HOLZEL

NATIONAL COUNCIL
OF JEWISH WOMEN
eyeathr Dctivtt5ectiOn
30235 Souitrirield is 100

-ORDER OF

TRENDS

M • LTER

SALES & LEASING
• LEASE CADILLAC'S
FOR LESS
• THE TIME IS NOW
TO BUY 87's
• THE NEW ALLANTE'
NOW IN STOCK

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

and must make greater sac-
rifices than in the United
State's. "There are no push fac-
- tors (in the U.S.) which cause
mass migrations," he observed.
Religious Zionism, however,
is not "a call to go on aliyah
because of negative factors in
the Diaspora," he stated, and
turned to the story of Abraham
to illustrate his point. "The
first oleh was told to leave his
homeland and his father's
house where he was very com-
fortable. He went because he
was told to go. This is why
American aliyah is increas-
ingly religious."
There are between 60,000
and 70,000 Americans in Is-
rael, he said. Americans "oc-

by does America,
with the largest
Jewish population in
the world, supply Israel with so
few olim (immigrants to Is-
rael)? Who are the relative
handful of Americans who
choose to make Israel their
home? How many stay once
they have made aliyah?
These are a few of the points
touched on by Dr. Chaim I.
Waxman, associate professor
of sociology at Rutgers Univer-
gity, at a workshop entitled,
"Psychological and Emotional
Components in the Aliyah De-
cision," during the American
Zionist Assembly, held re-
cently in Philadelphia.
Dr. Waxman, whose chil-
"Those most
dren have made aliyah and
rooted
in their
who is considering aliyah him-
Jewishness make
self, belielies "American
Zionism has never committed
aliyah today."
itself to aliyah. In fact, it dis-
courages aliyah. At best,
American Jews applaud Jews
cupy a high position in Israeli
who make aliyah." And, if you
society. They are looked up to
are really serious about giving - and admired."
up America for Israel, "people
Still, Dr. Waxman found
think you're crazy."
that 38 percent of American
Dr. Waxman found that the
olim return to America. The
already low immigration rate
main reasons they give are the
to Israel is dropping. In 1985,
limitations they find in profes-
1,915 individuals moved to Is-
sional development and the
rael from the U.S., a figure Dr:
difficulties caused by separa-
Waxman called "pathetic." In
tion from family.
contrast, there were 7,364
Those who return to the
American immigrants to Israel .
United States seem to carry •
in 1971, a high point.
with them different emotional
The decision to make aliyah
baggage than Israelis who
is an ideological, not a pragma-
leave, he said. The Americans
tic one, he contended. "It's
tend to be much less critical of
those who are most rooted in
Israeli society than the Is-
their Judaism who make
raelis, emphasizing instead
aliyah today." Therefore, it is
their own inability to fit in and
not surprising that Dr. Wax-
make it in Israel.
Man found a growing percent-
"Many express an interest in
age of ohm are religious Jews,
ultimately trying aliyah
whose connection with the
again," he continued.
Land of Israel is an absolute
In addition, Americans who
one.
return feel a closer tie to Israel
Before the Six-Day War —
and Judaism than Americans
which unlocked a sleeping
who never lived in Israel. They
messianism among religious
are more involved in Jewish
Jews — a clear minority of olim
religious life and more actively
were religious. The year 1967
pursue Jewish education for
was the watershed for religious
their children. Dr. Waxman
aliyah.
noted, interestingly, that those
who return to America express
According to Dr. Waxman,
feeling out of place here.
in a 1969-1970 survey, 30 per-
Regarding the Zionist
cent of American ohm defined
movement's soft-pedaling of
themselves as "Orthodox," 46
aliyah, he said, "It's rather
percent said they were "reli-
ironic that a movement whose
gious" or "very religious" and
founder (Theodor Herzl) made
about one-quarter called
the statement: 'If you will it, it
themselves either "not reli-
is no dream,' should adopt a
gious" or "secular." He guessed
practical approach. That it
that today about 60 percent
should say, 'Since you won't
would call themselves "reli-
have aliyah, you shouldn't deal
gious."
with it or make it a component
"Purely on pragmatic
of the movement.' "
grounds you have to be out of
Dr. Waxman scored those
your mind to leave the U.S. to
who believe "real Zionists pay
go to Israel," Dr. Waxman said
dues" or call themselves
flatly. In Israel one has less
Zionists just because they give
money, fewer conveniences

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