There was a lot of thought-provoking discussion on Facebook in response to my open letter to Reform Rabbi Dana Evan Kaplan published at JewishPress.com and reprinted on Ynet.com. Rabbi Kaplan wrote an article called “Losing Zuckerberg – Why Did Facebook King Move Away From Reform Judaism?” and my letter in answer to him is called “‘Losing Zuckerberg’ and Reform Judaism’s Opportunity” and it calls on the Reform Movement to choose Zionism as way to save the next generation from uninvolvement and assimilation. In the fast flowing river of Facebook, the valuable comments and responses moved along into the land of past posts quickly so I decided to collect them in a blog post here so they would continue to be read and shared. I hope the discussion will continue here in the comments section below. The respectful among Jews who definitely do not all agree was inspiring to me for the 40Days4Israel. The comments follow below (posted originally on Facebook).
Bracha Barbara Goldman: fascinating article – but I grew up in the days when Reform Judaism rejected Zionism, even more than it rejected Jewish tradition. It would probably be “mission impossible” to get them to change their stripes and embrace Zionism – even though there are, as you say, a few kibbutzim in the Arava. Reform leaders who are here in Israel are out to attack the religious establishment, and that seems to be their main raison d’etre.
July 2 at 12:21am · Like · 3
Sarah Bessie: Reform is not easy, especially if it relates to human understanding of G-d. Reform does not necessarily mean to simplify what is already there, but should increase each existing and ever existed. Alas, the reform of Judaism made to simplify what is already there, just to make it easier and more preferred by people who are not Jewish. Zuckerberg is one of many. If these reforms, has been recognized as a weakness, it may need to be discussed or may be reformed again.
July 2 at 1:35am · Edited · Like
RavRonami Meyers (Rabbi of Congregation Ezra Bessaroth in Seattle where I had the honor of speaking at a Shabbaton in 2011): Unfortunately, I think that your open letter to Rabbi Kaplan is somewhat lacking. While it may be true that many secular Israelis’ identity is wrapped up in serving in Tzahal and in service to the people of Israel, this is largely a product of having been born and raised in Israel. The American Reform Jew’s default position is secular life in America. What imperative, impetus, is there for Reform Jews en masse to pick up and move to Israel, to build the ancestral homeland? Reform was, as you know, originally anti-Zionist, and only changed its direction several decades ago once it saw that such a stance was untenable in a post-Holocaust reality. But there is no theological basis for Reform to embrace Eretz Yisrael, barring a concept of a unique Jewish mission best achieved in the context of a such a homeland.
If Reform cannot articulate a meaningful Jewish religious identity, what makes you think they will be able to – sans the Torah – inspire their youth to leave the material level of American life for a materially tougher life in Israel?
Moreover, I think that by publishing such articles, you do a disservice to the religious Zionist enterprise. Rav Nebenzhal, in his Sichot L’Sefer Bamidbar, says that the following is problematic: “He’s a devout Jew, and a real (Ohev Yisrael) (Ohev Eretz Yisrael)” This kind of a statement implies that devout commitment to Torah and Ahavat Yisrael, and Ahavat Eretz Yisrael are two separate tracks. But our mitzvah of Ahavat Re’a and Ahavat Ha’aretz stems from the Torah imperative! So by publicly sanctioning a Jewish identity void of Torah and Mitzvot – a Jewish cultural identity as a L’chatchila – you are misrepresenting Judaism as well as creating a moral equivalence between Torah Judaism and Secular Zionism….
The great advantage of “marrying Jewish” for Reform Jews who move to Israel, while understandable and appreciative by Orthodox Jews, cannot have great meaning for Reform Jews, whose rabbis sanction, and perform intermarriages, and for whom patrilineal descent is a religious truth….
July 2 at 2:42am · Like · 3
Adam N Nesenoff: We should call on them to follow Torah and Mitzvos to save the next generation of Jews
July 2 at 7:21am via mobile · Like · 2
Matthew Rosen: When our orthodox jewish cousins stop telling us we are less jewish than them, perhaps young reform jews will be more willing to listen to what you have to say, we feel perfectly close to God as we are, we lead fulfilling lives, we are not lacking, we do not feel your way of life offers us anything better, when you understand that there is more than one way to live a fulfilling life, more than one correct way to be, then perhaps your more observant religion will become more appealing to those who share your bloodline. hostility and judgment will never be met with conversion, the orthodox trope that reform jews are just lost is untrue, we are not waiting to discover God many of us have that relationship, we are reform, we are largely secular, and we like who we are just fine. I am reform, I know full well I am Jewish, I’ve got more Jewish education than 95% of conservative Jews under my belt, I love Israel but don’t need to move there, and there is nothing wrong with me.
July 2 at 9:40am · Edited · Like · 4
Yishai Fleisher: Dear Matthew Rosen, Thanks so much for writing me on this important topic. As far as I can tell you must have read someone else’s article. In my article, the person who was most judgmental about Reform was a Reform rabbi who wrote in the Forward. His claim was that Reform’s religious policies were too amorphous and his conclusion was that Reform needed to be more religious in order to keep young people Jewish. My claim was that Zionism was a much faster and more natural movement within Judaism which has the power to excite Reform youth. I think that my article was full of love, wanting my brothers and sisters to join me here in Israel. If you are upset that I, along with most Jewish leaders, thinkers, writers, are concerned about the fate of American Jewish youth, and the rampant rate of intermarriage, then I am sorry. I think that marrying Jewish is an important value, and it is my right to think so because it has been a value for three-thousand years. The American Exile is so anomalous because instead of anti-Semitism our children are being drawn in to marry the gentiles. Far from insintuating that anyone is a lesser Jew, my article called on the Reform youth to be part of building a Jewish State no matter what their religious affilitaion. Finally, your note was quite abrasive, and I dare say, judgemental – much more so than my article. Here’s to loving fellow Jews, and here’s to amicable dialogue. I appreciate the passion, but let us have a conversation built on mutual respect. I would love nothing more than to see you and your friends happy and fulfilled and part of the story of our people. Yours…
July 2 at 10:39am · Like
Matthew Rosen: I disagree Yishai, this question, indeed the central question of your article “what can deliver powerful Jewish identity to millions of young American Reform Jews?” is a fair question perhaps in your mind, but the reality for many million of young American Reform Jews is that we already have powerful Jewish Identities. American Jews don’t live in a world absent anti-semitism, the so called glue to hold us together. we are very much aware that we are not WASPs. If you can not see the idea that Reform Jews need to be pushed something, you favor pushing Zionism versus Judaism, is in itself offensive, as if we are lacking something, then I do understand why my tone comes off as hostile. America’s reform jews are some of the most highly educated, prosperous people ever to walk this planet, the idea that we as a group do not know who we are is simply untrue. i certainly don’t want to offend my family, but i don’t spend my time writing articles on how to fix the mindset of Israeli Nationalist Settlers, and if I did, I would fully expect you to comment on it!
July 2 at 12:21pm · Edited · Like · 2
Matthew Rosen: Furthermore, read the comments to your article, it is rife with the sentiment that reform Jews do not know anything about their religion, i don’t profess to be a talmud scholar, but “i’ll take Judaism for 2000 any day of the week, alex” and i’m 98% sure i’d kick the tar out of 75% of Israelis. personally, i think reform religious schools would benefit from more judaism and more zionism, but the premise that there is a lost generation of american jewery out there, and what are we gonna do about it?!, it’s just false…
July 2 at 12:30pm · Like
Yishai Fleisher: Matthew Rosen — I am happy that you feel that the generation is well adjusted and learned. But I don’t think you should project yourself on the wider community. To not see that Jews are struggling to find Jewish identity is blindness. I have been to many campuses and most kids have a great heart but don’t have a clue about Jewish history, Jewish lore, or Jewish law. In any case, I did not try to limit you from commenting, just wanted the tone to be warmer, and I am not responsible for the other comment opinions as this is an open forum. Finally, I am a Zionist, and I want to see more of your generation making an impact here. I want to see more Jewish neighbors (no matter what denomination) with more Jewish babies. Sue me!
July 2 at 2:13pm · Like · 2
Yishai Fleisher: Thanks RavRonami Meyers for your thought-out response. A few points: I did not say that Zionism without Judaism is Lechatchila. Being an traditional Torah Jew it is easy to guess what my life preference is. But here I am dealing with a group who is asking for direction and I think Zionism is a closer fit for them and will speak to the youth and help them attain an identity that will keep them Jewish. Intermarriage rates drop significantly after a trip to Israel. So in writing this article I thought my job is to inspire a direction which could work and get Reform minds to think about the possibility of Israel. And who knows, maybe it will inspire one rabbi and one congregation to connect their children with Israel. Staying Jewish in America is a huge accomplishment today and we have to do everything in our power to help young people have Jewish pride and Jewish preference when it comes to marriage. Israel is so exciting, so real. I think with minimal exposure, American Jewish college kids will jump at the opportunities we give them.
July 2 at 2:51pm · Like · 1
Malkah Fleisher: Matthew Rosen, my dear cousin, and Yishai, my dear husband – it’s fun to see family getting together, even if it’s only digitally. I’d like to add my two cents here (it wouldn’t be very Jewish of me not to) to this interesting conversation. For starters, let’s go back to the beginning. Yishai did not write this article independently. He wrote it in response to a somewhat frantic article written by a Reform Rabbi. That rabbi – an expert at least in his little corner of the Reform Jewish universe – expressed his worry about the future of youth in the reform movement, and used Mark Zuckerberg as an example of how so much is right with them (as you mentioned, Matt, one “of the most highly educated, prosperous people ever to walk this planet”), and yet how much is so terribly wrong (in this case, a lack of interest in Judaism and intermarriage to a non-Jewish woman).
Because we are cousins, I know, Matt, that you are really one of the lucky ones. Your parents went to great lengths to ensure that you were raised with as much Jewish education and identity as possible, all the while proudly adhering to Reform Jewish principles and practices. In your higher education, you went to two schools which are famous for being packed to the gills with Jews. Between these facts, your big Jewish heart and your soul which I know deeply connects to and thirsts for Judaism, you may assume that every Reform Jew feels like you. You may not believe that many Reform Jews don’t really associate with Jewish faith, that they will marry out of Judaism, or that if they did that it would present a problem.
But the facts do not bear this out. The statistics in the US are that 70% of non-Orthodox Jews marry non-Jews. And while Yishai and I know Jewish couples which began when a Jew married a non-Jew and brought him/her into the faith, I’m sure we can all agree this is far from the norm. The prevalent experience is that a Jew marries a non-Jew, and in a few generations, the children are gone from Judaism. If you think being/staying Jewish is a positive value, you cannot deny that this is majorly concerning.
However, you are right about another matter of critical importance. Reform Jews must always be treated with the respect and acknowledgement that they are just as Jewish as any Orthodox Jew. Surely I can attest that you have a very good Jewish soul, and would never stand for anyone else saying otherwise. Moreover, I can see why an Orthodox Jew suggesting that a Reform Jew bump his Jewish identity up a notch could seem aggressive or condescending. But those of us who really want to operate on the field of equality should be ready to be looked in the eyes and give – and get- real critique. If you reread Yishai’s article, I hope you will see that the overwhelming sentiment there is one of brotherhood – not the just the sappy kind, but the tell-it-like-it-is-cuz-we’re-family kind. Yishai wrote assuming that Reform Jews on the reading end would not be eggshells – that they would understand that he views them as equals and wants them to be strong and successful, that he values their contribution to our nation, and that he is not going to give them a pass out of the story of Israel just because their lifestyles don’t jive in totality with his own. He wants to hold Reform Jews accountable to the nation just as much as he does to Orthodox Jews, to include them just as much, to work with them just as much. And he wants them to stay Jewish – is that so wrong, a little Jewish pride? I know you have it. I have it. And I feel good about that.
I’m sorry this is so long. If nothing else this caused a nice – albeit feisty – conversation to happen in one Jewish family. I hope it will do the same for the greater Jewish family, too.
July 2 at 3:52pm · Like · 2
Avigdor Rudofsky: And what % of Reform believe in Hashem?
July 2 at 5:19pm · Like
RavRonami Meyers: Thanks Yishai and Malka for your comments; I am enjoying monitoring this discussion…but Yishai, the entire premise of your position is that it is somehow an imperative to “stay Jewish”. True, once one accepts that premise, he would see the great advantage in moving to Israel, where intermarriage rates are obviously lower. What you are either ignoring or perhaps diplomatically avoiding is the central point of Rabbi Kaplan’s article – the “Elephant in the room” that you are sidestepping, and that is the lack of a theological basis for Jews who do not subscribe to Torah M’Sinai to live uniquely Jewish lives and to marry Jewish people with the aim of perpetuating the Jewish people. Kudshah Brich Hu, Yisrael, and Oraita are “חד” – they are one – inseparable. While not detracting from your cousin Matthew’s sincerity and inherent goodness (I’m sure he’s a great guy!), his movement provides no theological basis for living a uniquely Jewish life, as defined by Torah – ie mitzvot, both the Written and Oral Torah, given on Har Sinai. Included as one of these mitzvot (debate in the Rishonim about D’oraita or D’rabanan) is the prohibition of intermarriage. Now, this prohibition of intermarriage – or phrased positively, the obligation to marry Jewish – has no context for one who does not prescribe to Torah Judaism. This point is driven home beautifully by Reform Rabbi Kaplan
July 2 at 11:22pm · Like
RavRonami Meyers : When he says and I quote: “Also, as a Reform rabbi, it would be hard for me to tell a congregant not to date anyone who was not already Jewish. I would urge congregants to talk about their commitment to Judaism with any potential romantic interest and make it clear from the beginning that Judaism is an important and hopefully central part of their life. But it is simply impractical to tell single people to restrict their dating gaze to those who are of the Jewish faith. Even if we wanted to say such a thing, the reality in our congregations would make such exhortations antiquated and irrelevant.”
July 2 at 11:25pm · Like
RavRonami Meyers: So now you are asking congregants of similar rabbis, who themselves have no theological leverage with their congregants — to move to Israel so they can prevent intermarriage?
July 2 at 11:25pm · Like
RavRonami Meyers: It’s also only the Torah that defines us as a nation, and not merely a religion. So if one is not working according to classical Torah definitions, how is an American Jew part of the “nation of Israel” if he does not hold an Israeli passport?
July 2 at 11:27pm · Like · 2
Zeev Kahanist: But “Reform Movement” is NOT Judaism.
July 2 at 11:36pm · Like · 1
Yishai Fleisher: Um, RavRonami Meyers? Are you saying that Jews who do not keep Torah are not Jewish. That is simply not true according to Jewish law. We have a concept called Teshuva which is always available. My parents are Russian Jews who lost their connection to Judaism and then regained it years later. Your assertion that “only the Torah that defines us as a nation” is simply false. Being the children of Yaakov defines us a nation period, while, to be sure, the Torah is our raison d’etre. And by the way Zionism is Torah, and when Jews chose to settle outside of the land they too are not exactly following Torah (See Ramban Hilchot Melachim Ch.5). Should we therefore say that Jews who live outside the land are not Jewish? I mean the Rambam does say that it’s like practicing idolatry. So instead of insulting each other calling each other not Jewish, let us embrace our brother and sisters, not judge them, and come together in a return to our our land and a return to our roots. We have enough people who hate us out there, let’s well us our love instinct instead, and that too is Torah.
July 2 at 11:57pm · Like · 3
Yishai Fleisher: Hey Matthew Rosen: for a sobering snapshot of the broader Jewish community in the NY area please check out this article which discusses the new UJA population and affiliation survey – a must read: http://www.thejewishweek.com/news/new-york-news/sweeping-changes-ny-jewry-seen-first-decade-survey
July 3 at 12:20am · Like
RavRonami Meyers: Yishai….I think you are reacting emotionally and not rationally to the comments I made above. Nowhere in my comments did I, G-d forbid, saying that Jews who do not keep Torah are not Jewish. That’s preposterous. ישראל אף על פי שחטא ישראל הוא – a Jew who transgresses is of course still a Jew. I myself grew up with partial Jewish observance and only at the age of 20 began to observe Torah and mitzvot at a more intense level. I also recognize that inside of us, each Jew has the potential to connect to our people, and act on behalf of our people, even if not observant. What I did say, and you did not relate to – is that theologically, the Reform movement, which does not accept Torah M’Sinai, has no theological leverage to mandate marrying a Jewish person, as reform Rabbi Kaplan’s article so clearly pointed out; his hesitation stems not from the impracticality of trying to argue the point, but from his inability to call upon any objective imperative to do so. All I said is that the argument to move to Israel, so that they could marry Jewish, is a strange plea to Reform Jews, whose standards facilitate intermarriage, whose definition of who is a Jew is not in accordance with the Judaism, that you, Yishai, subscribe to, and whose conversions are not recognized by Orthodox Jewish law. As such, the plea that you are making has little appeal to a thinking Reform Jew.
July 3 at 12:35am · Like · 1
RavRonami Meyers: Regarding your comments about living outside of Eretz Yisrael, it’s actually the Gemara at the end of Ketubot that’s the source of the idea that one who leaves Israel either a) is like he has no G-d; or b) serving idols. But by the way, the same Rambam (see the whole perek) says that is permissible to live anywhere in the world, except in Egypt. So the question of course is how could the Rambam simultaneously say that one must live in Israel and then say that it’s permissible to live anywhere in the world? After all, if living in Israel is a positive mitzvah in the classic sense of the word, then living outside of Israel is a bitul of a mitzvat Aseh, like refraining from putting on Tefilin on a given morning! It would be, ipso facto, forbidden to live outside of Israel! So the answer that has been offered is that it’s a mitzvah kiyumit, ie a mitzvah when you are performing it – but not an issur if you are not. Now, this may be hard to swallow for someone so beautifully ideologically committed to living and promoting living in the Land of Israel as you are….but as in any halachic issue, this is a complex matter that resists sweeping comments.
July 3 at 12:44am · Like · 1
RavRonami Meyers: BTW, four of children live in Eretz Yisrael, and an additional three are there for the summer, and we have a Chatuna in Bet Shemesh of our son in August. Please join us!
July 3 at 12:45am · Like
Yishai Fleisher: Dear RavRonami Meyers: Would love to join you for the wedding, thanks for the invite, and Mazal Tov!! Regarding Reform’s lack of theological motivation – I don’t for one second deny that point – but for Rabbi Kaplan who is asking what can be done to keep his congregants Jewish, I am offering him a thought: help your kids choose Israel. They already love birthright, and they can get excited about many of Israel’s secular accomplishments, and by choosing Israel they can stay Jewish without being challenged theologically to accept more observance. Regarding Mitzva Kiyumis, YU’s Rabbi Shachter has a very hard time with this concept. But the bottom line we can all agree on: To live in Israel is something to strive for and it is a higher level of Torah observance and a closeness to HaShem. In His great mercy, God is ingathering the Jewish people from the four corners of the globe and the next wave of returnees will come from North America. I am sure we can also agree that our job is to love fellow Jews, and embrace them wherever they live, and whatever their level of observance. I for one, have a lot to learn in Torah and in keeping the commandments, and in serving HaShem properly. I am looking forward to hearing Torah from you in the Holy Land. Yasher Koach!!!!
July 3 at 1:28am · Like
Emet Sheva: Zionism itself must be redefined as it bagan in Herzilian anti-Judaism and all its early proponets (Jabotinski, Ben Gurion, etc) discriminated against religious Jews. I am NEW Zionist and I hope everyone takes time to re-examine this term and where it began and where it is nowadays!
July 3 at 3:42am · Like · 2
Zvi Gary Jonathan: Did Zuckerberg renounce his Judaism?
July 3 at 4:24am · Like
Leon Yoseph Leiner: I have to agree with Emet Sheva that the term zionism NEEDS AND REQUIRES NEW DEFINING; as the term i have come to find it relates to is JESUITIC ORDERS INFILTRATING JEWISH GROUPS CLANDESTINELY TO GAIN INSIDERS’ CONTROLS OF OTHER JEWS… it’s a sad angle, but it’s coming out to be true-er and true-er … i post something to add ”perspective” to this claim, even though i don’t agree with a few points brought in this article about who and what ”Israel” is, though it merits ”comparing” … http://geraldcelentechannel.blogspot.co.il/2010/07/albert-pike-letter-to-mazzini.html .. did you ”know” or hear that ”zionism vs islam” has been ”an agenda” since BEFORE THE JEWISH ZIONIST MOVEMENT came to take roots ???
Albert Pike letter to Mazzini, The Illuminati plan for World War 3 August 15, 1871 | Gerald Celent
Revolution and social chaos is coming. For anyone who is reading this page, plea…See More
July 3 at 8:18am · Like · 1 ·
Emet Sheva: Leon and All – I think you would appreciate this video from Rav. Amnon Yitzhak’s SHOFAR group, if you have 85 minutes to devote to it. It delves into ZIONISM OF FOUNDERS OF ISRAEL and THEIR NEGATIVE ATTITUDE TOWARD HEREIDIS EVEN IN CHOOSING TALLIT AS FLAG as to say :”Its a flag so you no longer have to put it on your body”.
July 3 at 10:20am · Like
Emet Sheva: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1UL-YD_TTE
July 3 at 10:21am · Like · 1
Kristalyn Frey Leonard: I am sick and tired of frummies telling me I am not Jewish enough. What does that mean? “Jewish Enough”…..you either are or you are not. How lame. The reformed shul here supports Israel 100% and many of us who are conservative or modern orthodox attend. You starting sounding like christians when you do that to us. Please stop. Thanks.
July 3 at 11:19am · Like
Yossi Zucker: The article seems to be implying if you want to end up on a Jewish path and possibly frum, disregard reform – u have a better chance to connect to Gd and return to your roots through Zionism. Traditional Israelis would rather go to a halachic synoguague once a year than a reform temple every week, because they dont fool themselves into thinking that practicing reforms version of judaism is practicing judaism.
July 3 at 2:11pm · Like
Salomon Elguera: I think pushing Zionism is good. But also pushing reform Judaism is a big mistake. We need more Jews to become Frum and Torah Observant. In the article you write about how Israel is a great place for Reform youth movements. But, it is also a big problem because with the reform movement comes the acceptance of Gay marriage, not keeping the Mitzvot and picking and choosing what to do and not to do in Torah. This has detrimental effects on all the Jewish people in the world. The Less people studying Torah in Yeshivot, the less people keeping Shabbat, the less people will have shalom Beit and be able to enjoy the world Ha Kadosh Baruchu wanted us to enjoy. We must stand up against all types Koffers who speak against Torah and lead Am Yisrael astray. Reform Judaism and every heretic Jewish movement that move away from Torah is the problem. Every Heretic movement Hashem has destoryed and will destory. The Karaites and all most done with. Sadduccees have disappeared. The Other groups who went away from Torah have been perished from the face of the earth. If we want to inspire Jews to be Jewish we must push for Zionism, learning Hebrew and serving in the Israeli Military and to live and be part of Israel. But we must also push for Jews to become observant. The only thing that will lead to salvation is when all Jews keep all the Halakhot. This will prevent the spiritual down fall of israel. Bring us closer to Medinat Halakhah and bring us closer to the Time of Mashiakh. BS”D
July 3 at 8:40pm · Like · 1
Zeev Kahanist: Don’t forget, aside from “gay marriage” feminism and all the other ridiculous political agendas the reform movement pushes for in Israel, they are also very pro arab!
July 3 at 9:18pm · Like · 1
Marshall Winkler yasher koach!
July 4 at 9:26am · Like
Tzvi Fishman: Please share this article with everyone. Yishai has been traveling all over America with great maserut nefesh and love for the Jewish People to spark what he calls an “Aliyah Revolution” and everyone can play a part by promoting this idea on Facebook. So please SHARE NOW!
July 4 at 9:26am · Like
Viva La Jewpacabra: No offense but I don’t think so – without Torah, there can be no Jewishness. You see how Zionism has fallen today. Look at the debacle secularists have made of Zionism – look at all the secular leaders whose children flee the country at first opportunity. I’m kind of surprised you wrote this.
July 4 at 9:38am · Edited · Like
David Haser Hasday: bs”d
There is no Zionism without Torah.
Zionism without Torah is baseless.
Actually Torah is Zionism.
And the first Zionist is Kadosh Baruh U Himself.
July 4 at 9:42am · Like · 1
Daniel Tauber: Yishai is correct: Judaism without Zionism doesn’t work. The Torah is a fundamentally Zionist document and if you remove Zionism you remove a primary part of Judaism.
July 4 at 9:51am · Like · 1
Fredrick Murphy: I watched an interview last night, recorded on ShalomTV with you and the founder…and if i was a non-Zionist i’d say he kept pulling you into corners with his older wisdom and then spanked you Yishai several times. HOWEVER, since i’m a complete Zionist, i think you are struggling to do the right thing and many will benefit by it…you make good points for both Jews and non-Jews. The founder of ShalomTV is interested in social Judaism, and not in restoring Israel….nor restoring a BASIC Torah lifestyle in the Land. You are. May HaShem continue to mold you and use you towards Restoration. Ah-mayn.
July 4 at 10:36am · Like
Yishai Fleisher: Thanks Frederick for your comment! and glad you are seeing ShalomTV. What points that Mark – who is wise without doubt – made did you find compelling?
July 4 at 10:38am · Like
Viva La Jewpacabra: Judaism without Zionism doesn’t work but Judaism without Torah is meaningless
July 4 at 10:47am · Like
Fredrick Murphy: Don’t get me wrong Yishai, i’m not saying i think Mark was correct IN MY OPINION….for i think you are closer to the Truth. What i’m saying is that Mark does a typical show (we watch things on Roku channel they just opened up for ShalomTV, or we use a PC) where he knows what buttons to push and how to “handle” his guests towards a certain end. I think Mark does many wonderful things, and is no dummy by any means, but i think a huge difference between you and he is…well, summarized by secular and non-secular. Let me put it this way, i have my family watch your programs often times (YouTube, Roku’s different Jewish (& Messianic Jewish) channels, etc…), and a person can get a sense of who you are “overall.” When we look at Mark’s /ShalomTV’s overall programming, verses looking at your overall programming, we would say you are a religious man whereas Mark is a secular man…..both with a “Jewish bent.” Does that make sense?
July 4 at 11:25am · Like
Fredrick Murphy: I also think, though i know there is much i don’t know about you Yishai…so maybe take this as a grain of salt, if you are struggling to keep a balance between being “Biblically committed in deed and heart” while yet not trying to be “letter-of-the-law legalistic in a Khassidic fashion.” I think you are striving for balance, and growing, and that’s what makes you appealing and encouraging. My family loves your passion for “all things Torah,” yet without being purely built on man’s religious requirements. You are genuine, also, in your love for people…Jewish people as well as all mankind. So you have some like-minded friends who are attracted to your messages…. Keep it up friend. Off to some more heat with family….. Shalom for now.
July 4 at 11:31am · Like
Nehemia Stern: All of you miss the point. Zionism,like any other political movement, is only a means to an end. ארץ ישראל איננה דבר חיצוני. והמבין יבין
July 5 at 4:41am · Like
Barry Verstaendig: Judaism survived for 2,000 years without Zionism…but after a few generations, Zionism without Torah is disintegrating…Zionism without Torah isn’t going to guarantee the survival of either one…
July 5 at 4:54am · Like
John Raymond Mayo: Religious Zionism or simply Zionism would be a breath of fresh air, so to speak, in Reform Judaism. I think they may have gone off on a tangent over racism and anti-occupation views and these have bent their pluralistic paths away from Judaism and a passion and desire to live in and build the Land of Israel and to a sad end of not passing on their tradition. And I like how you compare and contrast your own life experience and include it as your suggestions, Yishai.
July 5 at 1:06pm via mobile · Like
Boris D. Maslovsky: Zionism alone is no solution. There are many zionists who have no Yiddishkeit. Many of the early zionists were atheists who intermarried. Zionism is not a substitute for Torah and Mitzvahs. Maybe if reform Judaism stopped giving people superficial explanations that lack any spirituality and gave people an authentic Jewish experience, people would respond and be drawn closer to it. In the end, reform Judaism, like the Karraites, and other deviants sects is doomed to ruin and will be relegated to the annals of history. Unfortunately it’s taking a lot of wonderful Neshamas down with it.
July 6 at 11:40am · Like
Fanny Rosellon Druker: We must do aliyah in a land where there are hundred of thousands of homosexuals a land with more abortions than in America, a land with a lot of traffic of drugs to europe and even in Israel a land that you can get jazir and nonkosher wines in almost any supermarket? i grew up in a liberal orthodox enviroment and now I do understand the jaredim and the jasidut that are against the state of israel!!!!