Sunday, June 15, 2008


Birthright was a brainstorm of Yossie Beilin, back in the days when he was a fount of creative ideas, some harmful, others plain wrong, and some important. This was one of his best. The fact that apparently much of the establishment is now against is irrelevant. Anyone who sees the hundreds of bus loads of the Birthright students knows it's a fine thing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Ah. Only one problem. The people picking up the "free trips" are middle-class to weathy. Which puts a crimp into "meaning."

In other words? At one time travel wasn't cheap. People saved for it! (And, following WW2, when Americans began traveling to Europe, they also packed toilet paper.) The natives in one country weren't going to give up the comforts they took for granted at home.

Meanwhile, the other thing now popping up on birthright, is that the kids going come from "mixed" environments. Jewish, let's say, in America. Definitely not Jewish by the rabbinical standards in Israel. (That's what happens when men marry "out." And, if you don't think this is true, let me share with you one of my mom's observations. When she came, here. From back East. And, for one holiday I decided to take her to the closest temple. Which is Reform. My mom was shocked. She said "all the women, except me and her, were shiksas." She was none-too-happy.)

Back East, when I was young, and, yes, nice Jewish doctors were grabbed up by gorgeous blond, and dumb shiksas. My mom made a point of continuing with the story.

In other words? When the daughter wanted to eat bacon for breaksfast, she went back "home." While her own own, to please her husband, was kept Kosher.

Then, over time, my mom noticed that the nice Jewish doctor "would pass on." And, his wife took all her kids to church. Where they got Baptised.

Yossie Beilin comes as close to a none-religious Jew as you can get. In a country where for some strange reason Ben Gurion, instead of sorting out the age old arguments between the various forms of Judaic schools, opted for the orthodox.

Okay. America had her troubles in the beginning. Without being able to rid itself of the British borne disease, slavery; it got imbedded into our US Constitution.

Still, you do see the miracle. #1. America (rag-tag and all), won a 7 years war against the British. They were't used to losing, ya know?

And, issues don't get resvolved all that easily. It took 80 years to reach America's Civil War. Which was very un-civil.

As to taking advantage of the birthright rules, I'm aware that my ex-husband's two kids; 24 and 21, are planning on going. Trust me. Rich kids. Half Filapino. So, as I said, not exactly candidates to create anything more than a secular universe for Judaism. (Which is fine by me.)

But the money funding these trips comes from somewhere. And, it's here that you're looking at the giant sponge. The way you can raise funds (not among Israelis), but from rich show-offs, who go to temple to let you know "they are loaded for bear." Becomes the site where the Morris Talansky's roam. Collecting the donationa. And, only keeping back "expenses." While what was once a great idea, matures.

Yes. You need the tourists!

Even more important for Israeli kids to mix in with those coming from other countries ... where I'm going to presume speaking English is a bonus.

Meanwhile, the world is changing.

Giving away free trips isn't going to give you the rock solid foundation that Israel once got.

Heck, American kids can spend at least four years away from home at colleges and universities ... and the old spirit? In today's universe all they collect is debt.

Meanwhile, Yossi Beilin is very good at coming up with ideas that spend other people's money.

How do charities collect money? First, they find something they can hang their advertisements on.

But I remain unimpressed.