Thursday, October 27, 2005


more on Ir HaEmunah

My friend's report on her visit to Ir HaEmunah was also sent out to her own friends and family. Following is an excerpt from a letter she received and her reply:

Hi --,

I received your email regarding your childrens' living conditions. I'm so sorry that this has to happen to you and your family. It sounds like whatthe hurricane evacuees here are experiencing....and no human beings should be made to exist under those conditions. I think they will always have todeal with the lasting effects of this situation.

Hi, Lynn (not her real name)

The point is, it’s really not a matter of me and my family. This is 60 large families (average family size probably 6 or 7 kids) we’re talking about, who are one tiny part of the 10,000 (more or less) that have been torn from their homes.

It’s an outrage! Can you imagine Washington DC singling out a group of communities—the northwest suburbs of Chicago, say—saying the government has changed their minds about allowing them to live where they’re living (and as a reward for terrorism, yet!), wresting them from their homes, planning their futures for them or lying to them or forgetting about them, I’m not sure which, and then leaving them to rot in hotels and dormitories and transit camps? And Americans sitting still for it? Thinking, well, as long as no one I know is affected?

Lynn, these are Jews! We’re kin, all of us!

I’m sorry I’m spilling all of this on your head—for Pete’s sake, you’re the only one who’s even written me back, and here I am, giving you this splat between the eyes. But I think, or at least I hope, that if I were still living in the States, I would feel a stronger kinship, a stronger tug, toward the Jews in Ir Ha’Emuna or in Kfar Pines or at the Shirat HaYam Hotel in Ashkelon or the Shalom Hotel in Jerusalem, or, or, or (we’ve been scattered to all points of the compass) than I would toward the hurricane victims, with all respect to them and their suffering. Katrina, Rita, and Wilma can’t be seen as singling out any group because of their politics, making sure they know who’s boss, and punishing them because they’ve been difficult. Ariel Sharon and his lackeys can, and have.

My daughter and her family are one tiny segment of an opposition that her government and my government have set their sights on squashing. I want to grab all of American Jewry by the shoulders and shake them and shake them and say, “Don’t you see??!!”, and it’s frustrating that I can’t.

I think you, and all American Jews, have to figure out who you feel closer to, homeless American hurricane victims or dispossessed Israeli Jews. Who should you be caring about primarily? Who needs the caring and is more deserving of the caring, when you consider that there aren’t exactly gazillions of Jews clamoring to rise to the challenge, like there are Christians for Christians, and Moslems for Moslems?

I hope what I’ve written isn’t offensive to you. I love you, and wouldn’t say anything to hurt you.


It's wrong to blame American Jews for indifference to the plight of the expellees. They get the blame for not being here. Once they choose, willy nilly, to remain in America, they have the convenient excuse that Sharon knows more about what's going on in Israel than they do. The truth is that the government is paying a pile of money to spread PR and propaganda about how every family has a half-million dollars in the bank in compensation and are living the life of Riley in luxury hotels (the rats wear tuxedos). The people to blame specifically here are first the perpetrators and second the middle Israelis who won't get up off their rusty dusties from in front of the television to check out what's happening. These are the same Israelis who don't demand that their kids be taught Arabic in order to know what the Arabs really are instead of what the "experts" tell us they are.

I believe that American Jews have a responsibility to be aware and educated. Every school should make an attempt to keep the students up to date on the conditions of the people from Gush Katif. Each Rabbi should alot several minutes of his Shabbos Drasha to update the community as to the conditions of the people from Gush Katif. If the schools and the Rabbi would raise awareness, hundreds of thousands of Jews would become aware. The Jewish papers (Jewish Press, Yated, Hamodia, Jewish Week etc.)as well must keep the people of Gush Katif in the news as a regular featured article.
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