Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Aliyah To Shiloh

I made Aliyah last fall, shortly before my 50th birthday. With my wife and 10.5 year old son, we landed in Jerusalem. We lived in the religious neighborhood of Har Nof for 10 and half months.

A little over 3 months ago, on Erev Yom Kippur we continued our Aliyah experience by moving to the beautiful Shomron village of Shiloh. Located about 40 kilometers (25 miles) north of Jerusalem; Shiloh, near the place that G-D rested his home, the Mishkan for 369 years, long before the birth of either Christianity or Mohammedism.

As we travel over Eretz Yisroel I am continually the recipient of words of praise when I tell people that I live in Shiloh. We have been to weddings in Jerusalem and received this praise. We have been to Sderot, the town that has borne the brunt of Hama’s missiles for the past 7 years, over 6,400 at last count. This past Shabbos, we were doing our daled amot in Migdahl HaEmek a town of about 30,000, over looking G-D’s beautiful Jezre’el Valley.

I went to the next door neighbor of my Shabbos Host’s for a Shalom Zachor, the Friday night get together on the Shabbos before a Brit Milah. Meir M…s, an oleh of 30 some odd years from Bombay is the grandfather of a new grandson who G-D willing; be entered into the Covenant with G-d on Tuesday morning.

Meir’s son-in-law is an Oleh from Russia. While at their table, my host introduced me as living in Shiloh. I received praise and was asked to speak. It is an interesting experience talking to a group in Ivrit when I do not have full command of the language. It seems that having to pick most of the words slowly is a great device for holding an audience’s attention.

My talk was in reaction to the observation by the Ba’al Simcha, Meir M…s, that it was a tragedy that the mezuzah was removed from the doorway of the Kasbah in Chevron. I asked how many people at the table had ever been to the Kasbah in Chevron. Besides my raised hand, the only other was my son’s. I asked how many had been to Shiloh? I received only one positive response from a table of about 12 men.

This to me was a pivotal moment in my understanding of these words of praise when I say that: Garti b’Shiloh. I live in Shiloh.

I said that more than half of the world’s Jews must agree with PM Ehud Olmert. Just like he fails to see the connection of Klal Yisroel to Eretz Yisroel: the nation of Yisroel with the Land of Yisroel, so it seems that my Jewish Brothers and Sisters who choose to live outside of Eretz Yisroel also seem to miss this connection.

I said to this group of Sabbath observing brothers, that the road from Shechem, Shiloh, Yerushalyim, Chevron to Beer Shevah was called The Patriarchs’ Highway. That it was by their walking this road that they acquired (conquered) this Land. As a new Olim, we have made a conscious decision to do our daled amot in Eretz Yisroel. We have been to places in Eretz Yisroel that people living here 10, 20, 30 years, all their lives have yet to set foot in.

It seems to me that one of the reasons why the Olmert government can so easily throw away the lives and homes of families living in and on Eretz Yisroel is because we have already been abandoned by our brother and sisters living both here and abroad.

Prior to going to Sderot on Chanukah, with the educational non-profit organization that I have been working for since June, Connections Israel, I talked with a friend of mine who grew up in the States and has been living in Ashkelon for roughly 30 years. We had talked about the possibility of getting together following the activities in Sderot.

She said to me, “so, you live in Shiloh, that’s in the West Bank, correct?” I said, “No, it is in the Shomron.” She said, “It is over the Green Line correct, where I won’t go.” I asked, “Why won’t you go there?” She responded, “It’s dangerous.”

When I stopped laughing, I said, “Dangerous? You live in Ashkelon, just a few minutes from Sderot which has taken over 6000 missiles in the past 7 years. Ashkelon has taken missiles too, and Shiloh is too dangerous?”

I told her, “The world wants all the Jews west of the Green Line. They define the Green Line where the Mediterranean Sea meets the sand. They will not be happy until ALL of the Jews in the entire World are in the Sea.”

So, having said this, what do I propose that we as Jews, both here in Eretz Yisroel and outside on Eretz Yisroel need to do?

For my suggestions, read Page 2.

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