An Open Letter to Rabbi Shmuley Boteach

Allow me to start my comments by saying that I truly respect and admire what you do. You have shown that an Orthodox Jew is capable of tackling very serious issues in the public forum and to address some topics that until recently have been considered taboo for discussion among the religious members of The Tribe. You have made a name for yourself as one who champions many worthwhile causes and does not hesitate to speak about about those causes, even at the expense of his own street credit.

In that vein, I address this post to you with a question that I do hope you will answer. Through your writing you demonstrate a deep love of Israel and its people. You stand up against the world bullies and put them in their place when needed. You have visited here countless times and recently celebrated your son’s Bar Mitzva here.

When it comes to sex, your writing consistently expresses the idea of bringing desire and lust into the marriage as a way to perpetuate a marriage, keep it new, bring the couple ever closer together and for a whole series of other reasons.

I propose to you that this same idea of a deep and passionate desire that you speak about between spouses can and SHOULD be what motivates one to make Aliya from the Diaspora and live in Israel. When a couple marry, they make a loving commitment to each other that (hopefully) will last a lifetime. They fall in love and they spend their lives together trying to always improve on their relationship.

Based on what you write about Israel; based on your defense of Israel and your apparent LOVE for Israel, I have one question: Do you have plans to make Aliya? Many do not choose to make Aliya because they say they can not make it financially. I would hope that is not the case with you. Many say they won’t be able to find a job. I am certain that would not be the case with you. Some say they are just too stuck in their ways to make that major move. I have no idea if this would describe you.

But, let me say this: A person of your stature and renown would have an impact BOTH on the State of Israel AND on the Jews of the USA. Your moving here would give Israel another well-known spokesman INSIDE Israel who would have an insider’s view of the country. (As you know, coming here as a tourist vs coming here as a resident are two different things!) The impact you can make on your community not only in Englewood but FAR beyond is not one that can be quantified. You would be leaving a life of celebrity status, an affluent community and a life filled with satisfaction–to move to a country and live a life of celebrity status, to live in any one of many affluent communities and live a life of filled with satisfaction. In other words, all that you have THERE you can have HERE…and a lot more.

I, along with many other people, would love to see you write an article one day soon that is titled: “Why I have Decided to Make Aliya.” That article will not only be the first step in your journey towards the ultimate goal of living in the Land of Israel, but I am certain it would be a catalyst for many others to think about making that step.

Please consider it. You and your family are invited to us for your first Shabbat meal as citizens of Israel.

About the Author
After living in Chicago for 50 years, the last 10 of which Zev Shandalov served as a shul Rav and teacher in local Orthodox schools, his family made Aliya to Maale Adumim in July 2009. Shandalov currently works as a teacher, mostly interacting with individual students.