Categorized | Middle East, USA

Is Diaspora criticism of Israel top-down?

By Steve Kramer

Steve Kramer

ALFE MENASHE, Israel — When I get annoyed at something that I read in our daily newspaper (still delivered to our door), I often quickly dash off a letter to the editor on my iPhone. Often they’re even printed, but I always feel better for having expressed my thoughts in writing.

Below is one letter that the Jerusalem Post just printed. This subject, of the growing rift between Israeli and Diaspora Jews (primarily American) appears regularly in the local papers. To me, it seems to be more “politics” and less of a general feeling – hence my conclusions below. I’d be interested to hear from American readers about this. Am I right?  Is this issue not particularly relevant to you?
Top-down, irrelevant complaints (the Jerusalem Post title)
In regard to the comments on the supposed divide between Diaspora and Israeli Jews (“A common memory and a common destiny,” “It’s time to show a little fairness,” Observations, December 22), I propose that the issue is more top-down than bottom-up.
As a former American who belonged to both Conservative and Reform synagogues, I see in the complaints of the American non-Orthodox hierarchy little relevance for members of their congregations. A visitor to the Kotel [Western Wall] on an ordinary day will not see overflowing visitors to the (two) existing areas for egalitarian worship. So why kvetch so vehemently? Nor are stringent Israeli laws about citizenship, marriage and divorce pertinent to 99% of Diaspora Jews.
As a Masorti (Conservative) synagogue attendee for 26 years, I agree with Dvir Kahana that Diaspora Jewish “opinion leaders” should focus on unity, not contention.
Could it be that the Diaspora leaders have personal axes to grind?

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Kramer is a freelance writer based in Alfe Menashe, Israel.  He may be contacted via [email protected]

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