My wife Susan and I moved to Israel in 1983, a time when, for all intents and purposes, it was considered a pariah nation. In fact, not long before we arrived, the United Nations had declared Zionism to be a form of racism.
Israel is on its way to becoming a back-burner issue in much of the American Jewish community. Studies show that the younger the Jew, the less connection he or she feels to what is, let's try to remember, the Jewish homeland. The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, which used to give Israel 50 percent of the funds it raised, has cut that figure by nearly half. One of the Federation's "old leaders" pointed out to me that Israel isn't even mentioned any more in Federation advertising -- it's bad for business. Israel has become a wormy apple for many American Jews -- all this unpleasantness with the Palestinians and, on top of that, a hot, fuming plateful of disrespect for Conservative and Reform rabbis and the Judaism they practice.