Susan Goldberg, rabbi of Temple Beth Israel of Highland Park and Eagle Rock, grew up in nearby Echo Park. “There were no Jewish families around when I was growing up,” Goldberg, 38, said. Now that these neighborhoods are being gentrified, and a young, creative crowd is moving in, the Jews are coming, too.
North American Modern Orthodox Jews say they can explain their connection to Israel in one word: Torah.
"It's an organic existence. An Orthodox Jew grows up and believes that Eretz Yisrael and the people of Israel are one. The fulfillment of Torah is Eretz Yisrael," said David Cohen, director of Orthodox Union (OU) activities in Israel. "It's not about connection. It's who we are."