Global, Israel, Politics

Momo Takes the Back Door

Dear Readers –
Some of you may recall a bit of controversy from last August when Taglit-Birthright Israel and trip provider Oranim parted ways. According to reports at the time, Oranim’s charismatic leader Shlomo “Momo” Lifshitz was told by Birthright that he should lay off the hard-line badgering of trip participants to make aliyah and marry endogamously. Yes, kids, that’s right – Oranim was too right-wing for Birthright.
So imagine my surprise today when I received a Facebook message from Boston Birthright Israel Next saying:

Want to go back to Israel?
Come join Oranim Vice President Amnon Weigler for an Info Session on Oranim’s Short & Long Term Israel Programs.
Oranim Educational Initiatives invites you to Israel for a fantastic and meaningful journey. Use your passions and talents to inspire and to serve. Become part of an Israeli community, living among friends who share your adventurous spirit and desire to give. Learn to speak Hebrew like a Sabra, explore Israel like never before and make life-long friendships.

I don’t really have an issue with NEXT publicizing Oranim per se, although I’d much rather see their offerings put in context with other options for post-Birthright Israel travel. And barring that, I want to make sure we keep the discourse open, so I’m just doing my part to remind anyone who might prefer a trip that’s respectful of diaspora Jews and Jews of mixed-heritage that Oranim is probably not the right trip-provider for you.

4 thoughts on “Momo Takes the Back Door

  1. What about queers? I still have an opportunity to do birthright, but I really don’t want to go on a trip where I can’t be out. Any recommendations?

  2. Ok guys…. So, yes, Momo made the choice to leave Birthright over this past summer. There is no lies in that. He and Birthright had some differences and Momo decided he can no longer be part of Birthright.
    But, David, I must ask, what is your issue with BRI NEXT Boston offering their alumni options to come back to Israel, for 5-10 months, on programs that start at FREE?
    What Birthright tends to forget sometimes in its NEXT division is that their name is “Birthright Israel.” How many NEXT events or programming forget to connect to Israel? Most!
    Oranim is a Zionist, non-denominational organization. Our long term programs are available to everyone. With over 200 participants in Israel right this moment on Oranim’s programs, we must be doing something right!

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