The Emergence of the North American Sabra

According to The Reut Institute’s most recent report, The Israeli Diaspora as a Catalyst for Jewish Peoplehood: An Emerging Opportunity within the Changing Relationship between Israel and the Jewish world, “The Israeli Diaspora presents an emerging opportunity for strengthening the relationship between Israel and world Jewry.” The report continues, “By leveraging their unique hybrid identity, the Israeli Diaspora can play a critical role in catalyzing Jewish Peoplehood.”

from the executive summary:

Our research identified the following emerging trends both within and outside of the Israeli community itself:

  • From aliyah/yerida to ‘life of fluid movement’ – The dichotomous relationship between aliyah and yerida is changing: an increasing number of Israelis are choosing to build a life in more than one Jewish community;
  • Local Jewish communities are beginning to engage Israelis – In recent years, Jewish institutions such as Federations, Jewish day schools and Jewish Community Centers (JCCs) have begun to invest resources in reaching out to the Israelis within their community;
  • Israelis are increasingly seeking to be part of the community – Recent years have seen a surge in the involvement of Israelis in organized Jewish life including in synagogues, Jewish day schools and even membership on the board of local JCCs;
  • Israelis are beginning to self-organize as a community – Local Israeli community organizations have begun to blossom in recent years, showing a thirst for a vibrant Israeli life;
  • Israelis are beginning to develop a culture of giving – More Israeli immigrants are beginning to see value and assume responsibility towards their community, as expressed in investment of both time and resources;
  • Israelis are realizing that ‘Israeliness’ is not enough – In the absence of a strong form of connection to Jewish culture and heritage, many Israelis are beginning to realize that the Israeli national ‘container’ may not be enough to ensure a resilient Jewish-Israeli identity;
  • Jewish education is offering one possible answer to receding Israeli identity – Many first generation Israeli parents are beginning to understand that Hebrew-language instruction is only one component of maintaining a Jewish-Israeli identity;
  • From an aliyah liability to an asset for the state of Israel – While in the past, Israeli immigrants were perceived as a liability to aliyah, today we are seeing signs of interest that go beyond attempts to bring them back to Israel.

The complete report is available here.