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The historic significance of American aliya
[Up Front Edition]
Jerusalem Post - Jerusalem
Author: YOSSI KLEIN HALEVI
Date: Sep 26, 2003
Start Page: 15
Section: Opinion
Abstract (Document Summary)

Still, this wasn't supposed to happen to our post- Holocaust generation of American Jews. We were meant to be exempt from the curse of Jewish history. Our parents' generation was the most traumatized; we were the most privileged. After all, we were the generation of the Six Day War and Soviet Jewry liberation and American Jewish rebirth. Like the myth of the end of history invoked after the collapse of communism, we were implicitly raised on the notion that Jewish history was moving on a one-way trajectory, from destruction to rebirth - and, some even dared to say, redemption.

FOR AS long as I can remember, I knew that I would live in Israel. My father, a Holocaust survivor, had come to America, instead of Israel, only by an accident of fate. In our kitchen in Brooklyn hung a bronze relief of Theodor Herzl; our Hanukka menora played "Hatikva"; and the only news that really mattered to us was news about Israel. I had no doubt that every Jew should live in the Jewish state.

Most of all I came here because I couldn't bear not to be here. The encounter with a frenetic Hebrew culture that sanctifies the mundane and mocks the sacred has admitted me into the greatest Jewish adventure since biblical times. The dilemmas of Jewish statehood in the Middle East have forced me to abandon idealistic formulations and test my moral mettle against unbearable reality. And the encounter with Jewish sovereignty and power has helped free me from a post-Holocaust identity of victim and allowed me to become a "normal" human being, just as Zionism intended.

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