The ingathering of the exiles…to Alabama
So I’m currently in Israel for the first time in around a decade and am actually enjoying re-acclimating myself to Jerusalem and the society here. The other night I went to a bar frequented by American olim, where they speak English to one another and listen to bands playing music from the likes of the Grateful Dead. I was speaking to a new friend who works for Nefesh b’Nefesh about the phenomenon of American olim binding together and not shedding their American cultural norms. For those who don’t know, Nefesh b’Nefesh is an organization that helps Americans move to Israel. I do not know the details at this point, but a decade ago (when I was interested in aliyah) people could get a decent amount of money to make the move from America to Israel. Well, now you can get a decent amount of money to make the move from America to, well, the American deep south…
This from the AP:
Matthew and Michelle Reed, along with their 2-year-old son and newborn baby boy, are the first of what could be a stream of people to move to Dothan under a program that offers Jewish families as much as $50,000 to relocate and get involved with the city’s only synagogue, Temple Emanu-El
My personal favorite was this quote:
The couple heard about the relocation program through family members in Alabama and applied in September because Matt Reed was finishing a stint with the Army at Fort Bragg, N.C. They moved to Dothan after he left the service on Feb. 1.
“We always wanted to raise our kids Jewish, but we didn’t want to do it in North Carolina,” said Michelle Reed, 26.
So you picked Alabama!?! Truth be told, the mother of the family has roots in Dothan, Alabama–but still… It’s gotta make people think about the old adage, “I wouldn’t do that even if somebody paid me.” Personally, I’m uncomfortable with the notion of Jews getting paid to move places, even Israel, simply because they’re Jewish. In times of severe economic crisis the world over, $50k would seem better used elsewhere than to tempt a Jewish family to move to Dothan, Alabama.