Guest post by Editor Man
The Fundermentalist’s post on the big Birthright bash in Jerusalem a few weeks ago was, well, priceless:
One night of fireworks.
Renting an amphitheater for 7,500.
One staged shtick that involves a helicopter display.
A hundred member dance troupe.
Cost: Somewhere around a few hundred thousand dollars, according to the head of the Birthright Israel foundation, Jay Golan.
Watching one Israeli prime minister currently in the political gallows for alleged underhanded dealings with ultra-wealthy Americans publicly hobnob with ultra-wealthy Americans, then give an awkward rah rah speech in front of 6,500 18-26 year old Diaspora Jews most of whom have never heard the name Talansky: Priceless.
Now the editor of the Jewish Week, Gary Rosenblatt, offers his own account, and notes another irony:
[Was it] ironic that towards the evening’s end, HarPaz led the crowd in a heartfelt rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine,” with everyone singing about an ideal world of no nations and no religion? Mixed message? Absolutely. But everyone was having too good a time to deconstruct the good feelings created by having so many thousands of young Jews together, celebrating Israel and their Jewishness.
There are, no doubt, valid criticisms of the hedonistic aspects of the Birthright trips, and surely there could be more serious Jewish content infused in the tours. But there is no arguing with the fact that Birthright has been a huge success in attracting so many young people who may never have visited, or thought about, Israel had it not been for this bold venture.
For one night, at least, there was a palpable sense of excitement and Jewish unity and pride in the cool night air of Latrun, and one can only hope that those good feelings will last a lifetime.
Another reason to visit the Fundermentalist’s original post: Video of Olmert’s “Rocky Balboa-type welcome.”