My name is Helaine Ring. I am celebrating my 42nd “aliyaversary” tomorrow and feel like it is truly a reason for celebration, even more so right now than even before.
I moved to Israel on my 1st wedding anniversary, in October 1981. My husband and I came alone, and it fills me with great joy, much pride and overwhelming gratitude to say that my family now consists of five children, five kids-in-law, 15 grandchildren, ken yirbu and the future is ahead!
I would like to tell you a bit about myself. I became religious, after being raised in a conservative synagogue, when I was 16. I had come to the realization that it was naïve for American Jewry to think that a holocaust could never happen here. I also realized that the major difference between the Jews of Europe and the Jews of America was the existence of the State of Israel. But I felt that it was unfair to expect other people to maintain the State for me until I would need a place of refuge. So I became a Zionist. I remember well the day when I understood that being a Zionist meant that I had to move to Israel.
But I came to think that Zionism would not give me enough of a “warning” to be aware of the encroaching danger. I needed a “daily reminder” and thusly came to religion.
My parents were very supportive of my decision but my dad was worried that I had come to it from a place of great negativity.
Of course, once I began my journey back to Torah Judaism I found a world of positivity, of beauty and meaning in the religion, not just an early alert system. I now enjoy an intimate and ever closer relationship with HaShem.
My decision to come on Aliya was an easy one. I felt a connection and a responsibility to 2000 years of Jewish prayer and supplication. I had the privilege of being born into a world where a Jewish state was a reality. How could I justify saying “thanks, but no thanks” to a prayer answered after so many generations of longing?
I also wanted to raise religious children. How could I tell them that I had had an opportunity to fulfill the mitzvah of Aliya and “yishuv haaretz” but chose not to? How would I be able to answer them if they would turn to me and explain how they had chosen not to keep Shabbat?
That is why I feel that now, when our security, our morality and our very lives are being challenged, I find it even more important to fulfill our mission as Jews in this world.
Our roles as moral compasses of the world are not to influence by integration, but rather to influence by example. That example will come from our own country, and our own society.
We are meant to be a light unto the nations. All nations will see our light and come to Zion. The ONLY way to dispel the forces of darkness is by increasing the intensity of the light!
The answer to a radical Islam threat is NOT ONLY to become a more committed Jew. The answer is to move to Israel!
Each and every new immigrant brings his or her own special light and increases the forces of positivity, justice and morality in the world.
Many are comparing Hamas to ISIS or to the Nazis. HaShem has sent us these enemies to cause us to wake up. He offered us a beautiful country, a land flowing with milk and honey, but most of His children have ignored His gift. So He sends a Pharaoh, a Hitler, an ISIS or a Hamas terrorist to shake us up. The Nazis were embarrassed enough by their cruelty to try to cover it up; Hamas is proud of their atrocities and displays evidence of their destruction and devastation proudly.
A tree cannot be planted in coffee grinds and bloom and grow; at best it can maintain life but it cannot flourish. A Jew can only truly reach his true purpose in the world by returning to his land. Our purpose is not to be proud and strong Jews, our purpose is to be a Light to the Nations, illuminating from within, from OUR nation.
The goal of Orthodox Jewish leadership today should be to prepare Diaspora Jewry to realize their true potential and true fulfillment of their purpose in this world, to return to their homeland and join the ranks of their People.
I write these words from the depth of my heart, I feel that these are crucial, critical, dangerous times and Diaspora leadership has a major responsibility to speak loudly and clearly.
United we will be victorious in this was between the forces of good and the forces of evil. I thank God for granting me the privilege of living here and invite all those who have not enjoyed this privyo do so now.