Thursday, January 24, 2008

Another buck on something I already knew.

I don't know that "experts" or "reports" need to say it: Israel, Diaspora Growing Apart.

"We must massively inject Diaspora studies into the education system," said Prof. Yehezkel Dror Wednesday in a speech delivered to the Herzliya Conference.

But then: "At the heart of the rift between Israel and Jewish communities abroad lies the notion that the Diaspora youth have negative views of Israel politically, nationally and socially," Dror said.

Dror makes an interesting point. Is Israel isolating itself? Is the Diaspora not interested enough? Are the two lacking enough information about each other? Diaspora Jews are often viewed as not religious enough, not Jewish enough, even by secular Israelis. Likewise, Israeli Jews -- secular and observant -- are viewed as militant, obsessive, living in the dark ages of Judaism. But the rift. The rift is upsetting. I don't know what to say about it, and I feel pretty unequipped considering I haven't been to Israel just yet. I read the books, know the stories, hear about the people, watch the movies. But I don't think I'm truly equipped to assess the situation. I've read "Jew vs. Jew" and I'm pretty, completely -- without a doubt -- aware of the distress and divide between Jews and Jews and Jews. But I'm more aware of how it appears in America.

Israel seems so far away.

Anyhow. My point is that there's a rift, yes, but we don't need experts to tell us this. Do we?

////Watching the last installment of the PBS Jewish Americans series. I caught last week's, missed the first week's, and this week's is okay so far. I swoon for Liev Schreiber (the narrator). We're well into the 1950s, which is a great period for Jews on TV (a subject I've well-researched). Good times, folks. This is America, and we are the Jews.////