Just as in the past, Jews will flock to their synagogues throughout Israel this High Holiday season, but the difference will be that this year they will be joined by the largest contingent of North American Jews – olim, students, tourists – than ever before.
Israel has become the place where older Americans retire, younger families elect to build their lives together and raise their children here, and students come for a year or more of advanced study. Summer programs we run in conjunction with Taglit and our own NCSY bring nearly 5,000 additional young adults to Israel from North America, some to learn and some to tour – in some cases their first organized tour program to our homeland. We also cannot forget the “tourists” – those who spend every yom tov in Israel with us. I like to call these Jews part-time residents because they are far more active when they are in the country.
What started as a small outpost above a retail store on Straus Street in Jerusalem has now blossomed into a flourishing four-story building on Keren Hayesod, busy from morning until well into the night, with nearly 5,000 programs a year.
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The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.