Friday, May 8, 2015

Are American Jews ‘out of sync’?

When two people are ‘in sync’, they are said to be ‘on the same page’. They are said to be ‘coordinated’. They agree with each other.

To be ‘out of sync’ is to be ‘uncoordinated’.  When two people are ‘out of sync’, they don’t agree.

American Jews are out of sync with their own religion. They don’t agree that there is a link between G-d, the land of Israel and the Jewish nation.

Put another way, many American Jews—perhaps the majority—are not in snyc with their own heritage. They don’t accept the words of their religion’s founding document. They’re like Americans who reject America’s Constitution.

The Torah is the Constitution of the Jewish people. It’s possible that a majority of American Jews reject that ‘Constitution’ (see below). They don’t agree that G-d has any connection to them or to the land of Israel.

There’s a good reason for this disconnect. According to at least one Harris poll, in America, ten percent of Protestants and 21 percent of Roman Catholics don’t believe in G-d (“Guess who doesn’t believe in G-d?”, SimpleToRemember Com, no date). But Jews in America make these Christians look like holy seminarians:  52 percent of Jews do NOT believe in God (ibid).

So when we read in this week’s Torah portion (B’har, Vayikra, 25:1-26:2) that G-d says explicitly, regarding the land of Israel, ‘the land is Mine” [emphasis mine] ( Vayikra 25:23), at least 52 per cent of Jews in America disagree.

They are out of sync with the Torah. They don’t agree with G-d. They don’t even accept G-d.

That’s a problem for Israel.  If American Jews refuse to believe in G-d, then the link between G-d and the land of Israel is severed. That will never bode well for Israel—or, in the long run, for American Jews.

Ther’is a Jewish principle American Jews forget: the stronger Israel is, the greater safety Jews around the world will have. The weaker—or more demonized—Israel becomes, the less safe it is for Jews everywhere.

I can’t explain why that principle works. But it does.

But if unbelieving Jews in America are disconnected from their source, they aren’t the only Jews ‘out of sync’ with Israel. Even Torah-observant Jews in America are ‘out of sync’—literally.

Because of how Jews in exile are to commemorate Jewish Holy Days, Jews in exile this year have hit a space of five weeks (beginning April 11, 2015) during which what they read on Shabbat in the weekly Torah portion isn’t what Jews in Israel read. Normally, Jews everywhere read the same Torah portion each Shabbat. But it won’t be until next week (May 16, 2015) that Jews in America and Jews in Israel will once again be ‘on the same page’—literally.

This ‘out of sync’ reality should prompt religious Jews in America to ask themselves a question: is this the only way in which we in America are ‘out of sync’ with Israel?

Jews in America need to in ‘in sync’ with the Jews of Israel. They need to be ‘in sync’ with the land of Israel. They need to be ‘in sync’ with their Torah.

Right now, that isn’t happening. Right now, too many Jews in America support those who would destroy Israel, not build Israel. Too many Jews ignore Israel.

That doesn’t bode well for Israel. It doesn’t bode well for Jews in exile.

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