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I still think that they have to be a bit cuckoo, to go to a place with so many existential threats (now including being swamped by sub-Saharans, apparently). If I'm right, you may not be so happy to have them after a while.
First, Erithreans and Sudanese are not Sub-Saharans. Not better, but different. Second, they feel they have a better future for their children than in the USA. They may be cockoo, but then Jews are risktakers.
Besides the numbers of North American Jews who make Aliyah or don't make Aliyah, the ones coming here represent the cream of American Jewish society. These are the leaders with education and resources who are making a big impact in their communities.
J, although the numbers are small, I have to say that for the first time I am impressed. I know that you are always touting aliyah and the people I usually see are West Bank settler types - right wing Orthodox losers from Brooklyn. These people looked more or less like normal American Jews. I'm guessing the bad US economy makes it easier to pull up roots - what you are potentially giving up doesn't seem to be as great as before. I'm not ready to get on the plane yet but I have to admit that seeing these people makes it seem less inconceivable than before - from "you'd have to be nuts to do this" to "this could actually be a rational decision" - maybe not the right one or the one that I would choose, but still within the realm of rational choice. K
As the recession deepens, it will be more and more rational. But aliyah will always be for the self selected few.
In retrospect (and it's a little too soon to call it a day), a lot of migration to America (by the Jews and everyone else) was about economics and not political/religious freedom even though the latter is what gets touted in song and story (it's hard to right a patriotic song called "I came for the money"). In American history we always tout the story of the Pilgrims coming for religious freedom but equally important was the Virginia colony where the colonists came to make money. The US doesn't have a huge # of Hungarian Jews (compared to those from the former Russian/Polish empire) and the main reason, as J has pointed out many times, is that pre-war Hungary was quite prosperous, especially for the Jews, so they had no strong motivation to leave - in fact didn't leave even AFTER they should have seen the storm clouds gathering on the horizon (de-nial ain't just a river in Egypt). So , to the extent that the US is no longer on top of the economic heap, people (including Jews) will head for what they perceive to be a more promising place. My son, newly graduated from the Wharton business school, leaves for Shanghai Wednesday morning.K
Wharton? Shanghai? As long as he knows that "Ho, Ho, Ho" is an excerpt from the telephone directory, and not a seasonal greeting, he should do well.The new part of the city has truly spectacular architecture, but my favorite is the old colonial bank buildings, by the river, and which have been preserved. One can take a walk there, and enjoy a rather convoluted and arcane tea ceremony.May he prosper mightily, and deign to send us all a little food parcel as the American Dream turns to dust. Anon.
Israel could be a great retirement destination. Jobs caring for and entertaining retirees could keep Israelis at home. Paying the arabs to leave Israel might help too by reducing the perceived risk of living in Israel.
It's funny you should mention food parcels. Not long ago J mentioned that Israel once had rationing. The mention of parceled reawakened a vague memory of my father sending parcels to his brother in Israel (Ra'anana, just a stone's throw from J's Kever Benjamin). I seem to recall jars of Nescafe as an important part of them but can't remember much else.I've been to the Bund and I've done a tea ceremony (though not AT the Bund). The ironic thing is that those marvelous classical bank buildings were, up until a few years ago, the neglected quarters for various Communist bureaus that seized them in the '40s. In the French concession, the Party functionaries also took the nicest colonial mansions for themselves. Shades of Animal Farm, but could you expect otherwise?My son's Mandarin is quite credible already and I can only imagine that living there (and he is the type of person who will immerse himself in Chinese culture and not live in an expat ghetto) will improve it further, so I don't think he's in any danger of confusing season's greetings with someone's name.Israel has a hard enough time getting Israelis to take care of elderly Israelis. Just as in the US, the elder-nannies are often foreigners. I could see Israelis operating nursing homes, assisted living facilities, etc. Older American Jews often retire to Florida or Arizona, so why not Israel?K
I too remember sending Nescafe from Argentina to Israel. We received very nice big stamps in exchange. That was in 1959 or so.Congratulations K for your successful children! I too visited Shanghai but they say that it has grown and it is unrecognizible, except the Bund. Chinese is not difficult, I too understand a bit and can read the road signs.
I'm guessing that in their Socialist way of thinking, foreign currency reserves had to be conserved for essential imports of things like food so coffee was a luxury and probably had high duties attached. Something like that.When were you in Shanghai last? The greatest changes are in Pudong, directly across the river from the Bund. Areas that were farmland 20 years ago are now filled with skyscrapers. What impressed me most was not the relative handful of towers downtown (though some were very impressive, ranking among the tallest skyscrapers in the world). We have a number of tall skyscrapers in the center of Philadelphia also that are not that different, if slightly shorter. No, what impressed me (and there is by the way an impressive model of the city in their urban planning museum) was the endless # of 25 or 30 story apartment buildings that stretched literally to the horizon. These are not put up individually but in clusters of 10, 20 , 30 identical buildings. Thousands upon thousands of them, without exaggeration. There is nothing comparable in the US, not even in NY.You are a wizard at languages J so I'm not surprised that you learned Chinese too. Personally I'm not good at them at all - the US educational system does not emphasize language teaching and English will get you around (somewhat) in almost any major city on earth, so I've never felt compelled to learn. My jaw still drops when I hear my son speak with all the correct tones which I can barely distinguish among let alone reproduce. Or when he reads off what appear to me to be a series of incomprehensible scribbles. What was funny to me was that (while in America, American Chinese are often impressed by his Chinese) in China the Chinese people took it very matter of factly that a 6 ft. tall pale skinned Westerner with a large nose would be speaking Mandarin to them - doesn't everyone speak Mandarin? I expected more double takes, but it did not seem remarkable to them at all. The Chinese people, BTW were wonderful to deal with and very kind - sharp businessmen to be sure but I never felt in danger for a moment.K
I agree, personally, in my extensive travels there, I never felt any sense of danger or threat.Which is not what I can say about certain other places. Anon.
I have been in the most remotest places of China and never felt any personal danger except second hand smoke (everybody is smoking). Regarding Chinese speaking Westerners, the surprise lasts ten seconds and then it is business as usual.
More American Jews jumping ship as America declines. Patriotic people, those Jews.
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