Colors: Green Color

 I consider myself an Aliyah “cheerleader and motivator” which means that I encourage Aliyah from a positive and optimistic perspective. I have always advocated the need to run towards Israel and not away from America (or wherever else Jews live). It is for this reason why I cannot stand with those people who are posting – all over social media – that Jews need to “leave America NOW, before it’s too late!” Yes, every Jew outside Eretz Yisrael should begin preparations to come home as soon as possible… but not because of riots, looting or Covid-19. Let me explain.

I received an email from a friend yesterday. He wanted to know how I’m doing and simply asked, “Hey, Shmuel. How are you and the family during these crazy times?” That simple, innocent question started me thinking, and here’s what I concluded: These are not “crazy” times – they are “challenging” times. Let me explain.

Way back in the mid-1980s, I was spending Shavuos in Staten Island, and Rabbi Jay Marcus, now the rabbi emeritus of the Young Israel of Staten Island, told a funny, yet sad, story. He said that one of the congregants told his boss that he needed two days off to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Shavuos. A few days later, the boss called the fellow into his office and was quite angry. He said the following: “If you needed two days off, I would gladly give it to you… but why did you make up a Jewish holiday?” The guy did not understand. “I didn’t make up anything!” The boss then said, “Sorry, I don’t believe you. I never heard of Shavuos, so I asked five of my Jewish friends and nobody ever heard of it either!”

If you think that elections in Israel are finally over, think again, because the fun is just about to begin! The only part that’s over is election day – where people voted for what they wanted (or so they thought!). So, yes, the actual democratic process is over, but now comes the “wheeling and dealing” in an effort to make a coalition of 61 MKs. The reason why I say it’s fun is because this is the part where you see what your party is truly worth. Will your party be honest to their campaign promises and ideology, or will they sell their birthright for a bowl of lentils? In most cases, you get stuck with the lentils.

Ask any Israeli (certainly the under-30 crowd) who Asaf Goren is and he will tell you the same thing: “He is Israel’s Ninja champion.” In case you’ve been asleep the last few years, this new sport is sweeping the world. Yes, when I hear the word “Ninja,” I still think of guys in black costumes swinging swords or turtles named Michelangelo and Leonardo but that just shows my age. Today’s world is much different. The modern-day ninja is an incredible athlete who uses his/her strength and agility to successfully pass a rigorous obstacle course. This attraction has turned into a sport with millions of followers, as the ninjas compete against each other for serious prizes.