Celebrating 70 Years of Conservative/Masorti Olim

As we mark Israel’s 70th anniversary, let us pay tribute the Conservative/Masorti Olim from around the world. Their choice in seeking a “meaningful Jewish Life” affirms that “Making Aliya” is the ultimate expression of our Tnua’s commitment to Am Yisrael.

In their origins, both Reform and mainstream Orthodoxy were opposed to a modern Jewish State. Reform feared the charge of “dual loyalty.” Orthodoxy was concerned about “DeChikat HaKetz,” forcing God’s hand to prematurely force messianic times. In contrast, Conservative/Masorti Judaism always has been a pro-Zionist Movement! In the words of Solomon Schechter, Zionism will serve as “a bulwark against assimilation.”

In recent decades, Aliya has occurred from within our ranks in Europe, the FSU and beyond. Our Aliya has been most pronounced in Latin America. Israelis who had made Aliya from Argentina, Uruguay, Chile, Brazil and beyond are predominantly from Conservative Jewish homes, notably Rabbi Mauricio Balter.

In the USA, Conservative Jewish Aliya also has become a dominant factor. We see evidence of this trend in assessing the more than 3,000 folks who have made Aliya from North America this past year through the auspices of Nefesh B’Nefesh.

NBN reports that Orthodox Olim comprise 68-70% of the families served.  Among the nearly 1/3 of families who are “not Orthodox,” virtually all of them are Conservative Jews!

NBN further indicates that among more than 1000 single [mostly young] Olim, only 30% are Orthodox. Among the other 70%, nearly all are numbered among Conservative Diaspora Jewry.

The Executive Director of NBN, Rabbi Yehoshua Fass comments that: “With the ever growing Singles population making Aliya and becoming an ever more significant percentage of the general Aliya, the make-up of North American general Aliya is becoming more non-Orthodox.”

No, Rabbi Fass. The percentage of general Aliya from North America is becoming more and more CONSERVATIVE!!

On Israel’s 70th birthday, let us rejoice in our Movement’s contributions to the thriving of the Jewish State reborn. Our Olim are a profound source of pride to us all.

Rabbi Alan Silverstein