I am a Jew. Until I was in my thirties I didn’t really understand what that meant. I went to Hebrew school. I had a bar mitzvah, (which was probably the reason I went to Hebrew school). The American Jewish experience for me and so many others was about as meaningful as the color of my eyes. The main thing is that I was an American, pretty much the same as everyone else. Being Jewish was just another extracurricular activity, and less important than most.
What I did not understand until I was much older is that being Jewish is both a special privilege and it brings with it an awesome responsibility. Being Jewish requires being different. We were not meant to be just like everyone else. We were meant to be an example for others to emulate. We are commanded by G-d to elevate our lives by following his laws.
For over two thousand years the Jewish People were placed in Exile. They wandered all over the world searching for temporary havens until the blessed day when we would be able to return to our ancient homeland. Every land of our Exile eventually expelled us, forcing us to find yet another temporary haven.
This reality earned us the label of “Wandering Jew”. Those who did not know better believed that it was our destiny to wander forever. And for such a long time it was hard to argue the point. But our Torah promised us that the day would come when our G-d would bring us home from all over the world. It was this promise that sustained us. Our prayers and our holidays were a constant reminder that our genuine home is only in the Land of Israel.
Many of our people grew tired of waiting and began to think that we might never come home. What began as a temporary haven eventually saw many of us seeking permanent homes. We learned new languages. We embraced foreign cultures, and, if we didn’t reject our Jewish identity entirely, we chose to relegate it to the status of “religion” which we could define as convenience would have it, and not be seen as different from our neighbors. We did this in Spain for two hundred years and enjoyed life in that country . . . until the Spanish Inquisition saw us savagely expelled from that country.
We lived in Germany for generations as proud Germans. We built beautiful synagogues and yeshivas there and many of us conducted our lives as proud and religious Jews. When Hitler came on the scene most Jews refused to believe his threats. They were proud Germans who fought in the German army in World War I. Certainly there was no reason for Germans not to consider us as part of that nation. There is no need for me to elaborate on what happened afterwards.
In the 1930’s we had no homeland to escape to. Those who fled to other countries before the killing machine began were the lucky ones. No one cared enough to rescue innocent Jewish civilians in Germany and the occupied countries while Jews were being murdered by the thousands. Such horror was unprecedented in human history. Hitler turned his army against the Jewish people whose annihilation took precedence even to his efforts to take over the world.
The holocaust was an irrational and even supernatural event which defies explanation. Yet the fact that the Jewish State was reborn immediately afterwards, under miraculous circumstances, indicates a connection. Right after one of the most powerful nations in the world devotes most of its energies to destroying the Jewish people completely, the pitiful remnants of that people rose up against impossible odds and returned to their ancient homeland. How can anyone not see the Hand of G-d here?
Today, once again, we Jews have forgotten our destiny. We watch Islam rapidly taking over countries like France and England. We refuse to believe that it can ever happen in the United States, where we have been loyal citizens since its very inception. It is painfully similar to the way Jews in Germany felt. American Jews are proud to be Americans, just as German Jews were proud to be Germans.
I was born in the United States and it is not my intention to malign that country. I did not leave the USA because I didn’t like it. I left it because I wanted to be home where I truly belong. . . because I am a Jew. I thank G-d every day that I had the good fortune to come home when I did.
The Land of Israel is not just another country. It is a living miracle and undeniable proof that Biblical Destiny is real. The only thing holding back complete Redemption is our refusal to run with the miracles, and even to deny them. For a Jew to remain in Exile after we have a Jewish homeland again is to deny a two thousand year old dream to come home. It is to deny Biblical Jewish Destiny even as we watch it begin to be fulfilled!
Yes, Israel is under threat of annihilation. Such has been the case throughout Jewish history. Logically speaking this country should never have come into being. We had no army, no allies, few weapons and many enemies. For over 65 years our leadership has made every mistake possible, and yet not only have we continued to survive, we have grown stronger and thrived!
How ironic that now, when we have what many agree to be the greatest army in the world, we are afraid to fight our enemies as did our forebears when we had no real army. David ben Gurion once said, “In Israel, he who does not believe in miracles is not a realist”. And yet today our government refuses to believe in miracles and instead strives to negotiate our very existence rather than fight for it.
I am a Jew. That is all that is important. I do not care what my government does or says. I know that we are living in days when Biblical prophesy is coming to pass. I am fortunate to have been able to bring my family home and to watch them continue to grow here as proud Jews. I am heartbroken that so many of my brothers around the world close their eyes to the treasure we possess.
It is my firm belief that if a majority of Jews in the Exile would just come home that the Redemption would be hastened. Yes, the Messiah will eventually bring us home, but that will happen when G-d sees that we refuse to do it on our own!
He would much prefer to have us sanctify His Name, rather than have to do it Himself. . . against our will. (see Ezekiel 36).
I established Project Shofar to enable me to go out and speak to my fellow Jews about the need to come home. Unfortunately few are interested in the message. Perhaps it is too late to convince people. Even as we watch Islam beginning to take over so many countries, and its tentacles are beginning to choke America as well, Jews prefer to ignore it. Unlike in the 30’s we have a homeland today. Don’t wait until you have to escape. Come now with your head held high. The only real reason to come home is simply because you are a Jew.