by Reb Akiva @ Mystical Paths
I was having a lunch conversation with a co-worker. He’s a Russian Jewish immigrant, a nice guy with top hi-tech skills and the salary that goes with it. He drives a large new car (very expensive in Israel), has an expensive gold watch and dresses fancy.
His best friend is another co-worker, an Israeli Jew also with top hi-tech skills and the salary that goes with it. He drives a small car that’s rather messy and dresses basic for an office.
The difference between them is one has 3 children, the other has none.
I’d previously asked his friend, the Israeli, about it (I certainly didn’t want to intrude, but if I could daven for someone to have children, that would be nice). He told me our Russian Jewish co-worker had no children by choice.
As we were speaking during lunch he told me, “I don’t want to bring children into this world. In Israel, they’ll face a future as a persecuted minority among an Arab majority – due to the Arab birth rate. If I was to go to Europe, we already see European countries losing their culture and cities to the Arab immigrants and the native birth rates so low that recovery is hopeless.
And in America, last time I visited San Francisco I found large parts of the city where no one spoke English (speaking either Chinese or Spanish).”
I told him my advice for secular Jewish Israeli…. “We need you! The future of the Jewish people needs you to pass on your intelligence, your skills, your successful cultural aspects to your children. Don’t let your success end with you, bring it into the future!”
He replied, “the future is not looking good, I don’t want to bring children into a bad situation.”
I replied, “We must do what we can to make a positive difference. When we engage, and when we engage together, we can make a difference – often a surprisingly big difference. Don’t believe every bit of propaganda you’re fed – they’re taking over, they’re winning, they’re having 15 children per family. It’s up to us to make a difference for the future, and to make that future generation.”
He disagreed. I didn’t state the obvious dichotomy of complaining about being overrun by birthrates of another culture and responding by eliminating your own birthrate.
Yet perhaps it’s simply being able to look being the strictly factual. IF any Jew did a “logical analysis” of coming to and rebuilding Israel over the past 100 years, they’d give up in advance. IF any Jew did a “factual review” of circumstances after the Holocaust to consider whether to rebuild yeshivas and build new religious communities, they’d walk away at the hopelessness of it.
But today Israel is a vibrant modern country, and the Torah communities have larger yeshivot, more synagogues and more Torah learning going on than any time in history.
Without a little hope and faith, the outlook is bleak. With it, the future is so bright I gotta wear shades.