Aliyah, immigration to Israel, is at a critical crossroads: The number of individuals moving to the State of Israel is at an all-time low. Additionally, Israeli citizens are emigrating, leaving the Jewish homeland to settle in other countries. In the spring edition of B’nai B’rith Magazine, read about the factors influencing these recent trends.
Author Uriel Heilman delves into the history of aliyah, the demographics of those immigrating to and emigrating from Israel, and some of the ongoing efforts to draw people to Israel. While the outlook for aliyah may be uncertain, Heilman provides a clear picture of the current landscape.
Heilman suggests that fewer individuals immigrate to Israel because the threat of anti-Semitism is less acute than in the past. Jews can live in many countries throughout the globe and need not seek out the Jewish homeland to live safely and without fear. Economic concerns, and greater employment opportunities elsewhere, have caused some Israelis to leave and some recent immigrants to make their aliyot short-lived.
Yet, the Jewish state has historically drawn its strength from the immigration. B’nai B’rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin uses his own family’s narrative to explain the significance of aliyah to Israel. With Jews coming from all over the world, he writes that aliyah has imbued Israeli society with vitality and multiculturalism.
Elsewhere in the issue, B’nai B’rith Magazine Editor Eugene L. Meyer captures the re-emerging Jewish community of Berlin. After the Holocaust, a once-thriving Berlin Jewish population had all but disappeared. But the renaissance of Berlin’s Jewish community has meant an increase in the number of synagogues as well as classes in Hebrew and Jewish culture. The center of the city even includes a Holocaust memorial as a reminder of the atrocities committed by the Nazis against the Jews.
B’nai B’rith Magazine Contributing Editor Dara Kahn describes the 32 Postkarten project, a website created by Torkel Wächter after he discovered 32 postcards stowed away in his father’s attic in Stockholm. The postcards chronicle Wächter’s father’s correspondence in German with his family during World War II. On the website, Wächter released the postcards in “real time,” 70 years after they were written.
Also in this edition of the magazine, writer Jan Lee tells the story of the chueta Jews of Mallorca, descendants of Jews who were forced to convert to Christianity during the Spanish Inquisition. And just in time for Passover, read an article on a distinctive charoset recipe from Curaçao.
To read the magazine, click here.