Friday, December 4, 2009

Israelis in America: What Are They?

Are they Israelis?Americans? Jews just like the other Jews around them? None of the above? All of the above? Once they've got the answers, what about their kids?

Apparently it's complicated, just like real life. So Udi Sommer - one of them himself - set out to see what answers were on offer. According to this article, his investigations haven't given him much of an answer. It seems, however, that he's focusing on Sabras who move to the US, not on American Jews who moved back and forth - that's probably yet again a whole different issue.


Michael W. said...

I guess this article is about me and my parents. My brother and I were born in Israel. After we moved to the US, my parents sent me to 6 years of Sunday school and 4 years to a Jewish high school (and those years overlapped). They encourage me to particapate in Hillel and date nice Jewish girls.

We rarely talk about current affairs in Israel though, but I think my parents are still proud of Israel, even though they disagree with the politicians and anyone with an opinion. We lived an uber secular kibbtuznik life and now in the US, both of my parents work for Jewish institutions and go to shul regularly (and I still think they are athiests- ha!).

One of my old Hebrew teachers in highschool went back to Israel so he can raise his children in Israeli. He often would criticize American behavior or norms (but nothing offensive).

Anonymous said...

My parents came here to before I was born in 1971. I am US born and bred.

I went back and served in the IDF. Kravi as you can get. Spent 5 years in Israel on a secular Kibbutz. I am secular. I don't even go on the holy days.

I am actually wearing my IDF issued Dubon today it is so freaking cold. I live in the US because my wife is 4th generation American Jewish girl. I came back to get my education with the plan to move back as studying in English was easier than studying in Hebrew, for me. And then she came along and changed my plans.

We visit Israel every year. Twice if possible. I am buying a flat in Israel for my soul. My entire family, outside of my parents and my sister, lives in Israel. I speak Hebrew and English to my boys. They have Hebrew names. I am Israeli. My name is Israeli. My heart is Israeli. My soul is Israeli. My blood is Israeli.

When I will be in Israel in 8 days for Chanuka and I will be at peace. When we leave back to the US, my anxiety will rise again.

I will raise my children as Israeli as possible (as much as I can with an American wife in the US).

My parents are Israeli and never became Americans other than the fact they and I love football and baseball. I hold the fact that my parents never moved us back against them. I shouldn't, but I do.

Anonymous said...

Interesting topic. I have nothing informed to say about it, but I am glad you brought it up.

Anonymous said...

yeah. this touches a nerve. I was born in Israel and we moved to the US when I was 3. I've always felt that my family was Israeli and that I was American -- - so that really I felt equally both. I understand hebrew as a native but have never had to speak it so it's a struggle. It's a weird existence.

I've only visited Israel 4 or 5 times - not exactly sure - but am so surrounded by the culture and language that I have no doubt of my place in it. It's a weird existence.

I follow the politics. I am - I don't quite call it secular - Like a real Jew I question everything and say flat out Yes or No to fairly little. That's my definition of a Jew. In my mind a Jew is a truth seeker, and I have no idea if that's a shared idea or one that I use for my own convenience. It's a weird existence.

Shalom, Cherry Hill said...

This really doesn't apply to me, as I was born and raised in the US. I have a lot of family in Israel, some who went directly from Europe, some who went from the US. I visited several times as a kid, went after High School and lived on a kibbutz, served in a combat unit, met an American girl in University, got married, and returned with her to the States.

I love America, but my soul aches for Israel. As Yehuda HaLevi wrote so long ago 'Libi BaMizrach Va'ani besof HaMa'arav'. My kids love Israel, have been there several times, know their family there, and two of my boys are talking about serving in Tzahal when they graduate High School.
They also love America, a 'Medina shel Chessed', but they also love Israel, and they know what they are.