The Rav’s Blog

June 8th, 2012

Statistics that Matter

As a teenager I was exposed to the bible codes. I remember being told about a professor of statistics, who became religious after being shown the codes. It took me a while to realize that only a professor of statistics would become religious for such a reason because statistics however mind boggling, cannot cause such a drastic change in the average person’s life.

The following statistics, I am afraid, will probably not persuade you to make Aliya. However, I hope that they will be as thought-provoking for you as they were for me.

סור מרע push factor

I have just finished reading a book about North American Jewry. According to the statistics quoted in this book, the rate of assimilation in the US, amongst the Orthodox community, is as much as 5%, which is crazy.

The rate of assimilation in Israel is 2%, mainly amongst the immigrants from the former Soviet Union. The rate of assimilation amongst the Shomer Shabbat families is almost non-existent.

עשה טוב pull factor

However, I was never a big fan of the push factor. One does not need to hate Chutz La’aretz in order to love Eretz Yisrael! The pull factor is far more meaningful in my eyes. Something very interesting is evident from the following statistic. Something which could perhaps help us picture Israel in a new light.

The percentage of Shomer Shabbat families in the US is 7.5%. In Israel it is a third.

That is MORE than four times larger!

This to me is (yet another) form of evidence that Israel is on going a religious/spiritual renaissance. People often focus on and condemn the secular state. I obviously agree that Israel has not yet developed into the ideal Israel we Bnei Akivanik’s are longing for. However this spiritual renaissance is apparent. I am not only referring to secular Jews who are “returning”, the Ba’alei Teshuvah. I am also referring to the regular religious families. We in Eretz Yisrael have merited living in an era where the Torah is more relevant today than what it has been for 2000 years; more relevant in Israel than what it ever could be outside of Israel.

So next time you hear someone (usually a Rabbi) say that they love Aliya but they’re worried about people leaving the ’Derech’, and next time someone (usually a charedi) tells you that the state of Israel is not good because it is secular, perhaps you will have an answer for them. Not merely an answer of statistics and maths to prove them wrong – but an answer of essence.


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The Rav’s Blog

June 1st, 2012

To you, the member who has grown through the Tnua, has developed religiously and chosen to lead a more committed Jewish life, I take my hat off to you. In the world in which we live today, when the materialistic is so achievable and more tempting perhaps than ever before, it is a mature and bold path which how does cialis work on bph you have chosen to walk. You have set out on a journey which many have chosen not to. It is demanding; though meaningful it has many challenges and sacrifices along the way.

There may come a time, perhaps this time has already come, when you ask yourself if you still belong in Bnei Akiva. Perhaps it is time to identify with what people call a more ‘right wing’ environment where you can develop yourself and not need to compromise some of those things which you believe in. For what it is worth, I want you to know that you have my support. We in Bnei Akiva are proud of our Bogrim

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and though we are most proud of those who choose to live a Torah way of life in Eretz Yisrael buy discount cialis while contributing to society, we are nevertheless proud of those who have chosen to follow only two, or even one part of our three-faceted ideology. We are proud of people who have become leaders, even if they are not Bnei Torah, and we are proud of those who have devoted themselves to Torah, even if they do not make Aliyah.

I do however feel the necessity to share with you one thought. In Bnei Akiva we educate for Ahavat Yisrael and for taking responsibility for Klal Yisrael. If you choose to leave the movement because Bnei Akiva is not ‘frum’ enough for you, you are taking care of yourself and your religious needs. Instead of recognising that Bnei Akiva has helped you reach where you have reached and remaining active in the movement so to add your now new input, you are choosing to abandon ship. In fact, super viagra I would go as far as to say, that such a move would be narrowing your religious commitment rather than expanding it, since, for the sake of making it easier for yourself, you will be sacrificing a value which Bnei Akiva is committed to –כל ישראל ערבים זה viagraprofessional-100mg לזה, all of Israel are responsible for one another (Sanhedrin 27b). This value is the ability to think of Klal Yisrael and how I can (humbly) help them, rather than thinking how they are disturbing me.

There is one important reservation. If you feel that by being together in a movement with people less religious than yourself that your religious growth will be negatively influenced then by all means I urge you to leave the Tnua. For what it is worth, you have my blessing but please remember to have hakarat hatov towards the important work Bnei Akiva are doing in the community, and for what avodart or cialis Bnei Akiva has done for what is viagra professional you!

However, if you think that you have a strong character and that you are not going to lose everything you have built just by being surrounded by less committed Jews you still belong in Bnei Akiva, and you have so much to give.

Please look around you and you will see that you are not alone, there are many Bnei Torah in BAUK today and together with them, together with my humble contribution, we can make Bnei Akiva a place in which you will feel that you are contributing, whilst still continuing on your journey and going from strength to strength.

B’vircat Chaverim l’Torah v’Avodah,

Ilan, Central Shaliach


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The Rav’s Blog: To the leaders within Shevet Shvut

September 21st, 2011

I had the privilege of joining some of you last week at the Chief Rabbi’s home for a discussion on leadership as a follow up to your year on Hachshara. The meeting sparked some ideological debate, and I would like to share a few of my personal thoughts on some of the issues that were discussed: A. Limmud Conference When asked, the Chief Rabbi gave his blessing for you to go to the Limmud Conference. This has been an ongoing and controversial topic within Anglo Orthodoxy. For what it is worth I wish to second him and I want to explain what I mean. Having been to the conference and having discussed it with others there it is safe to say that the atmosphere there is very open and pluralist. Some participants feel there is an anti-Orthodox vibe at the conference. A place of learning where over 2000 Jews gather annually should be a place where we all can feel comfortable. This can only happen if we go there in the masses, lecturers and participants alike. Orthodoxy has a lot to contribute and currently our voice is not truly sounded. However, until that time comes, for those of you who wish to go as individuals, may I point out that it isn’t necessarily as ideal as it sounds. Learning Torah should be a growth process and yet in the conference it could become a struggle. The content of many of the lectures involve Torah teachings which are pure heresy. With the atmosphere being extremely open and many being strongly engrossed in the conference and with the possible anti-Orthodox vibe, one has to be very firm in their derech in order to go and not be pulled down. It is therefore that I find the Chief Rabbi’s two statements crucial: 1. Go only when you have the support of a rabbinical figure behind you. 2. Better still; go as a small group lead by a rabbi who is capable of addressing these matters. (Please note: Limmud Conference takes place during Winter Machane, so perhaps we should reopen this topic for discussion in three or four years when you are actually available to go there. A lot can change in a few years…) B. Kiruv or not Kiruv Here too, I fully agree with the Chief Rabbi that Bnei Akiva in the UK and worldwide is probably the biggest and most successful movement in bringing Jews closer. However, though we are a kiruv movement in the outcome sense, we are not in principle. This is, in fact, the secret of our success. Because we passionately believe in our ideology we merit that our chaverim adopt all or part of what we believe in: life of Torah, life of community and national involvement and leadership, all of which in Eretz Yisrael. Direct kiruv I have once claimed is not our specialty; that is something which other organizations push. Indirect kiruv, (i.e. catering for religious chanichim and teaching them Torah, Avodah and Aliyah), has proven over the years to successfully pull in less religious chanichim too, so why ever would we want to officially become a kiruv movement and exclude so many chaverim religious and not religious alike? C. Hadracha training and future involvement You asked about hadracha training. It is indeed very important, and Michael, last year’s Mazkirut, and I have been pushing it further in the movement, and the new mazkirut are ready to take it up to an even higher level. (Did you read in Shabbat Lashem about the hadracha expert we were bringing over from Israel?) You are now the bogrim of Bnei Akiva. Most of you have just returned from a very meaningful year in Israel. Please forgive me if I say: 1. There are many things going on that you may not have been aware of when in Israel or when in high school. Please make a conscious effort to know what the tnua is up to. 2. You are the bogrim of Bnei Akiva of today. You have a role to play in the movement. Help push the great things we are already up to,

e.g. weekly Limmud at the Bayit and on campus, Sviva and Shabbatot Ha’irgun, Machane, Lunch and Learn in Yavneh College. Furthermore, if you think something is lacking – make it happen!! It is now your turn to make your mark on this movement in helping us only to go forward. Kadimah Bnei Akiva! Bevirkat Chaverim LeTorah vaAvodah   Ilan

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