Prominent rabbis have been urging their congregations to give generously to Hurricane Katrina relief funds, the most prominent being one set up by The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles, which had raised more than $500,000 by early this week.
The disengagement or expulsion has ended. But is this also the end of religious Zionism? Are there lessons we can and must learn that may enable us to emerge stronger from this most difficult period?
The first lesson we learned is that we are indeed one nation. There was no real violence, and there was even majestic fortitude and an exaltation of spirit displayed by many Gush Katif settlers and leaders.
On the other side of the barricades, only a small number of soldiers refused to carry out military evacuation orders, despite the charge to do so from major rabbinic voices; the soldiers and police behaved with incredible sensitivity and restraint.
It was heart wrenching but uplifting, a period in which I was both tear-filled and pride-filled to be an Israeli Jew.
For Israeli Shifra Fyne, 83, this week’s journey to Los Angeles will be her first time leaving Israel in 56 years, and her first trip ever on an airplane.
Yehuda Goldstein is making the same trip. He hopes to reconnect with John Gordon, an L.A. resident he met last year in Israel. They think they grew up in the same pre-World War II neighborhood in Budapest.