Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Disappointing Erev T'filla

In the fall of 2001, in the wake of September 11, our shul hosted a special night of t'filla. The shul was packed. Both the men's and women's section were teeming with people, and many people ended up in the social hall, where they were able to daven with us through the magic of microphones and a pretty good shul sound system.

Fast forward four years to Summer of 2005. There is another Yom T'fillah called for, this time to show unity to jews in Gush Katif. There are a lot of people who showed up, but not nearly as many who showed up four years ago. There were people from all areas of the community, from across the religious spectrum, but in far fewer number. There were plenty of seats in both the men's and women's section, and there was no need to use the social hall to hold the overflow of people.

I understand the overflow crowd from four years ago; there was a lot of uncertainty and confusion. No one knew anything then, there was confusion and uncertainty, the type the draws jews to prayer. What I can't understand is the almost complete communal apathy to disengagement here.

I don't know what good rallies are for Israel, or shows of solidarity, but there have been none that I have been aware of here. I have seen one orange flag flying from a car, and he tells me he is constantly being asked if he drove off with the flag after the funeral.

At the very least, we should be davening for the people who are being forced from their homes, exhuming bodies of children and family members who have been buried in Gaza over the past forty years, and needing to find new lines of work and funding to build new hydroponic farms.

But no one seems to really care. Disengagement is not part of the local conversation. And it showed, with last night's sparsely-attended services.


Blogger Gebrec said...

It was a shame and unfortunately speaks volumes on how lttle our schools (yes all of our schools)are teaching our children about mitzvos bayn adom l'chavayro.
Are we that numb..............
We have kinos we say on tisha b'av about Jews being expelled from all places and we are to be sad and here it is happening right before our eyes in the place we know to be holy ground, not Christian Spain or France or Czarist Russia. Perhaps if in a few years when someone writes a kinah for tisha b'av about this expulsion of jewish people then perhaps there might be some sadness of how we gave away precious portions of our land. G-d has given us an opportunity to bring us a step closer to Moshiach by showing Achdus and caring for other Jews and folks I think we just threw it away.
Thanks for the soap box

August 09, 2005 10:37 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

GEB - I don't disagree with you on schools lack of teaching Bain Adam Lchavayro, but I don't think that is the reason for the community's apathy.

Primarily, it is the adults who didn't show up last night, who haven't organized any type of rally, who haven't done anything.

It cuts across the community, from the Yeshiva crowd to the Young Israel crowd,I thought everyone was underrepresented.

August 09, 2005 10:46 AM  
Blogger SportPsych Detroit said...

Coulda, shoulda, didn't. Can't explain the apathy.

No excuses.

Just sick and tired of being sick and tired

August 09, 2005 11:18 AM  
Blogger Gebrec said...

My comment about the schools is not something that started last year or yesterday, it is an on going problem and sometimes learning goes from Child to Parent. Imagine if our children were in tune to Bayn adom l'chavayro and they asked their parents how come you did not go and say some tehillim for other Jew, Do you not care??
Thinking out loud, perhaps someone should ask the Roshei Kollel, and Roshei Yeshiva if they care? (was your Sunday night Rabbi there?) I guess they prefer to wait until the kinah and lement to all of us how there was a lack of unity - no achdus, that is why Moshiach has not yet come or must be they were boycotting the vaad event because Dunkin Dounuts is a hang out.

August 09, 2005 11:28 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

I didn't see my Sunday night kollel rabbi there. He was also not aware of the Shema that was said last week (but he did say that there was no halachik problem with saying Shema at that time, but that is for another place).

I did see one person from Beth Yehudah Day Camp, and I didn't notice any yeshiva or akiva rabbis, although I wasn't looking, and I did not know a lot of the people who were there.

August 09, 2005 11:34 AM  
Blogger Gebrec said...

I will ditto SPD and again thank you for the soap box

August 09, 2005 11:36 AM  
Blogger Still Wonderin' said...

The statement below does not constitute the trivialization of catastrophe, or justification for apathy; rathe , it is merely an explanation of a common sociological phenomenon:

You're blaming people but should really be blaming circumstances. After 9/11 there was a huge disconnect. People filled that vacuum with prayer, faith, and family. It was a universal effect that was tangible and visible for months, perhaps years after the attack. Gush Katif is tragic, but it hasn't caused a vacuum. As long as life here goes on as normal, the worst catastrophe elsewhere will only cause minimal numbers to respond.

August 09, 2005 11:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

August 09, 2005 12:54 PM  
Blogger Air Time said...

SW - I understand the relative apathy is due to different circumstances; I understand that having your homeland attacked is different than seeing 8,000 people moved from their homes so that the 3 million people who live in the area can feel a semblance of self respect; I understand all that.

Still I blame people for not giving a damn about something that is of huge importance.

August 09, 2005 1:39 PM  
Blogger Olah Chadasha said...

You're absolutely right, and you should let every1 know it when the next appeal for Israel comes up, or when the next Yom Ha'Atzmaut is "celebrated" at the shul. We don't need the money or the pseudo celebrations. We need prayers, and we need peoples' understanding. If they can't give us that, then stop the pretending.

August 09, 2005 3:59 PM  
Blogger macabee said...


What was so sad last night is that most of the younger chevre of the Young Israel was absent. As was most of the Shomrey Emunah young couples. These are primarily Akiva parents who at least claim they want their children to feel a strong connection to Eretz Yisrael.

What an opportunity to either bring one's kid or let your kids know that you are joining together with other local Jews to daven for others in need.

It was so amazing to see the shul filled on September 11, and so sad to see the shul half empty last night.

How can we honestly observe Tisha B'av, and fill the shul with mourners for the Temple next week, when this week, we couldn't find the time to fill it for tefilla for those in Israel.

It is truly sad.

August 09, 2005 4:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

reality-check time, guys.

1. for those who are in gk, it is a real tragedy and gross injustice. they moved with the support of the govt, with great devotion and the best of intentions and built a life for themselves there. and now they are being forced to leave their homes. it hurts. bad.

2. my sense is that most of israel is in favor -- lightly or otherwise -- of the disengagement. gaza is the worst part of army service, and there is no perceived end in sight or real purpose or benefit in being there. (security? religious? economic? all are debatable, ad nauseum. and i would go with the local experts over americans, even if they may have been voted in as rabbi.)
the real holdouts, who care (hareidim are largely opposed to it but will not actively demonstrate against it for reasons beyond the scope of this post), are the religious zionists. and how many of them are there really?

3. one may ask, how strongly is the american orthodox world opposed to the disengagement really? i sense that in reality there is some equivocation there. i question as to whether american orthodoxy really sees this as such a terrible move. see 2 above.

4. as has been mentioned, 9-11 was very personal, while there is a deal of manifold distance for american jews.

5. the disengagement is really a sign of israels strength and security -- the ability to even contemplate giving up land points to a self-perception of confidence and security. this is actually something to celebrate!

6. at this point, all the israel rallies are so much wasted engergy. it is paramount to a tefillas shav.

7. and as at posted recently, what is the purpose of this collective tehillim? it is undefined. is it showing solidarity with gk? see 7 above for american orthodoxy's tepid attitude. and in what way does a tehillim rally show solidarity? maybe a letter-writing campaign. but detroit tehillim? is it a prayer for an anti-disengagement success? tefillas shav.

8. slow down with the expulsion comparisons. gk is being moved to other homes, and are getting a financial package. this is no spanish expulsion or the like. a sense of proportion here, people!

and these are not people who are terribly sick and are in need of gods intervention, so we storm the gates of heaven with our prayers. they are jews who devoted themselves to a cause and were tragically undermined by their benefactor. but is this really a tehillim opportunity as is normatively understood?

9. and sports psych, cut it with the trite plagarized aphorisms. what are you s&t of? what do you mean? you dont *have* to be s&t if you dont want to. get with it!

10. ...again, maybe the best thing for the state is the disengagement! this is what jews can say on 9 av, or on yom haatzmaut etc.

11. which brings me to my trope on the modern orthodox. the very oxymoron of a zionist in america should make every american zionist cringe in hypocrisy. he should be ashamed to lift his head up and voice an opinion.
mo has come to mean apathetic orthodoxy, in so many, many, respects as to be a virtually bankrupt institution. that so few purportedly religious zionists showed up is only one more, unecessary, proof to this effect.

August 10, 2005 6:58 AM  
Blogger Air Time said...

Anon - I agree with you on the American equivocation regarding disengagement.

If Israel was going to get one thing out of this, I would be OK with it, despite moving people who they encouraged to move there.

If Israel was going annex East Jerusalem, or sections/the entire west bank or take something tangible away from this, I would be all for it.

I was very surprised to read this past week that when they gave back Sinai, they tried to give back Gaza, but Sadat didn't want it.

I disagree with you on your whole modern aorthodox/american zionism take, but i can see where you are coming from.

August 10, 2005 8:58 AM  
Blogger AMSHINOVER said...

"Disappointing Erev T'filla"?
try these disappointing letters

August 10, 2005 11:39 AM  
Blogger Rolling hills of green said...

I do not agree with you at all, and do you live here to know what most of israel feels; that might be your peception, but you are way off base.

August 10, 2005 12:51 PM  
Blogger rockofgalilee said...


first of all I strongly disagree with you regarding the average Israeli's feeling about this. Most Israeli's are against the concept of withdrawing with no benefits and especially under fire. The enemy sees it as a weakness and a victory for their kassam rockets, which they will not hesitate to use again.

In terms of your question "how strongly is the american orthodox world opposed to the disengagement really?" I think a parallel question is how many Jews actually realize they can move to jerusalem when they plead with God 3 times a day to rebuild it. All of the gedolim of yesteryear wanted to come to Israel but they couldn't. Now the apathy towards Israel in all respects is being shown in a specific aspect of "who cares if some Jews get thrown out of their house for no other reason then their being Jews."

August 10, 2005 1:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the disengagement is unilateral, meaning its a one-way deal.
what israel gets out of it is freedom from an albatross around its neck.
nobody ever wanted gaza -- israel didnt want it, egypt didnt want it. just israel got stuck with it.

that gazans see this as a victory is an unfortunate and wholly predictable side effect.

and rock, its not at all easy to just up and move. and there are very good, legitimate, and even religious reasons NOT to live in israel today.
but moving on. most gedolim didnt come because ultimately they did not WANT to come. if you will be honest with yourself instead of buying all kinds of zionist or rz propoganda you will see this.
while im on the subject, most gedolim were opposed to zionism in general. it was not the religious who founded the state or moved in great numbers in the very early years.
at least retroactively speaking, the religious dropped the ball on this one.

August 11, 2005 1:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


How is the Fullbright Scholar doing? Do you miss us in Detroit? How about sending us an email on how you and the kids are doing in Israel?

August 11, 2005 9:37 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Excellent, love it! » »

April 25, 2007 7:24 PM  

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