19 thoughts on “Rabbi Joseph Lukinsky, May His Memory Be for a Blessing – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. ” I suggested that the standard approach of Zionist thought, which demeaned the galut and treated it as a phenomenon that would wither away as Israel assumed its rightful and primary place in Jewish life, was absolutely wrong.”

    Since 2008 the largest concentration of Jews in the world live’s in Israel.


    Most Jews in the world, see Israel to date as the safest place on this planet (for Jews), despite all the threats. So your views though may fit you are still considered a minority, Just like the views / opinions of those who inspired you from Brit Shalom.

    Personally, i think that the special relationship between Israel and the diaspora Jews are & should be limited to one aspect. You decided to live your life in the US, and your obligations as a US citizen are grater then your obligations to the state of Israel. That’s the way it should be. By saying that you want special consideration to the diaspora Jews voice, you are actually promoting racism in a way. I do think however that due to the very unique history of the Jewish world, Israel should provide a safe haven to every Jew who feels prosecuted and should welcome every Jewish immigrant who feels that he will be safer in Israel.

    If Jews in the diaspora see it this way, and they would like to contribute funds, or political leverage to the cause, that’s their choice.

    Israel should not get involved in the religious aspects of community life of Jews in the diaspora. However as a state Israel can decide that it prefers that it’s own religious aspects will be handled by the Orthodox and not by the Reforms.

    as for Joe Lukinsky – יהי זיכרו ברוך

    1. Most Jews living in the Diaspora choose to remain there. The rate of aliya is very small. This is a rejection of yr claim that most Jews find Israel the most safe,secure place in the world for Jews. If that were the case, the level of aliyah would be higher. It’s the reason I never made aliyah when I considered doing so when I was younger. IT’s the reason why so many young Israeli families seek employment abroad & become yordim (sorry for that rather negative term). They simply refuse to see their young children as future cannon fodder for the state.

      As for my views being racist, you’re out of your mind & if you accuse me of racism on such flimsky, stupid evidence again you’ll be outa here.

      Your claim that Israel has the right to recognize Orthodoxy as the exclusive representative of the Jewish religion inside Israel is especially noxious & will be an additional reason that Diaspora Jews will refuse to make aliyah. If you want a backwards state ruled by old rabbis & their political cronies you’re welcome to it.

      1. You are claiming that Jews should have a say in the way the state of Israel handle it’s affairs because of no other reason then them being Jews, this argument is based on race. You preach for a one single state with equal rights to everybody living in Israel, why should you who doesn’t live here should have any say in my future, when you don’t live here ?

        You are mixing apples and bananas regarding Yordim, most of them do that to look for a better financial future for themselves and their families. I’ts easier to live in the US then to pay 62% taxes (Income Tax + SS + Health Benefits), still at the sight of first trouble, All of them will hurry back to Israel.

        Israel has the right to decide which strand of the Jewish religion should have the religious power in Israel. it doesn’t limit you. you live in the USA. The laws in Israel are not based on Halacha, they have maybe some vague correlation to halacha, but they are based on Ottoman and British law’s, everytime there is a conflict between civil rights and religious law’s, supreme court has the final say.

        1. I don’t know what “having a say” means. If you mean voting or creating a political party, that would be wrong. My views are largely exhortatory, not prescriptive. As Diaspora Zionists have for over a century, I have a vision of an Israel of which all Jews might be proud. I have no vote, don’t support a candidate or party.

          You also forget that without Diaspora Zionists there would be no Israel. Who was Herzl but a Diaspora Zionist (who never made aliyah btw).

          As for “preaching one single state” I have no idea what this means. If you’re attempting to call me a one stater that’s wrong because like JVP I believe that’s the responsibility of the parties, not me, to work out. I focus on Israel itself.

          You’d do well to listen to the views of Diaspora Jews because you’re making a right mess of Israel & running it into the ground. That includes allowing the Haredim to be arbiters of Judaism for the nation. You can’t stand on your own feet & without the military & diplomatic support of my government you’d be in the toilet. You can’t fight a war without resupply from us. You can’t stave off UN security council resolutions without our veto. That’s why.

          1. “You can’t stand on your own feet & without the military & diplomatic support of my government you’d be in the toilet. You can’t fight a war without resupply from us. You can’t stave off UN security council resolutions without our veto. That’s why.”

            You do realize that Israel did all that, during 3 different wars without the US support. and besides that does the US support have to do with Diaspora Jews ?

            as for you Vision, have you ever asked yourself why you as an american even have a vision of what Israel should be ?
            i can’t figure it out, i don’t care enough about the US or any other place in the world to write a blog about, what do you care ? i am asking a serious question i am not trying to belittle your contribution in any way. You don’t live here, from what i understand you will not come to our aid in time of war, what do you care ?

            I think that answer has to do with Israel being a safe haven for all Jews but that is just my guess.

          2. In 1973, the Sinai front would’ve been overrun without airlifts of U.S. weaponry & firepower which allowed it to resupply. In 2006, the U.S. also resupplied critical armaments Israel needed and supplied the bunker buster bombs that failed to kill Hassan Nasrallah. Whose planes do you think allow Israel to rule the skies? Whose Patriot missile batteries will defend you if yr leaders are stupid enough to attack Iran? Whose bunker busters will you use to attack those nuclear facilities?

            Do you think half that support fr the U.S. would be forthcoming without your trusty lapdogs of the Israel lobby slaving away to secure it?

            I care because I unlike you believe in clal Yisrael. As for a “safe haven for Jews,” you think Israel is a safe haven for Jews? Think again. Israel SHOULD be a safe haven for Jews but it isn’t.

      2. Assimilation, low birth rate and intermarriage amongst secular Jews living in the Diaspora is very high. I believe secular Diaspora Jews are heading the way of the dinosaur.

        1. Actually, many of us believe Israel on it’s present course is heading the way of the dinosaur. Over time, secular Jews with specialized careers & expertise will leave, Haredim & poor Mizrahim will predominate & leave a pariah State that is poor & theocratic.

          There are no credible statistics that show the demise of the Diaspora. Other than yr own classical Zionist prejudices.

          1. There is some data available from Hebrew U which was reveled in one of the Knesset committees meetings. according to which assimilation rate within the US Jewish communities is about 55%. According to Prof’ Sergio DellaPergola
            Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry at Hebrew U assimilation rate for world Jewry was above 40% at the year 2000 he predicts it is a larger percent now.

          2. It’s of course in the interest of Israeli academics following the Zionist line to argue the imminent demise of American Judaism. I’m afraid we’ll be around at least as long as Israel is, if not longer.

          3. To begin with, I am a New York secular Jew and I’ve seen with my own eyes, over fifty years, the effects of assimilation, low birth rate and intermarriage amongst secular Jews. But enough of me.

            From David Goldman’s How Civilizations Die,

            “Nowhere is the fertility gap between religious and non-religious more extreme than among American Jews. As a group, American Jews show the lowest fertility of any ethnic group in the country. That is a matter of great anguish for Jewish community leaders. According to sociologist Steven Cohen, “We are now in the midst of a non-Orthodox Jewish population meltdown. … Among Jews in their 50s, for every 100 Orthodox adults, we have 192 Orthodox children. And for the non-Orthodox, for every 100 adults, we have merely 55 such children.”

            According to the last National Jewish Population Survey in 2000, the ultra-Orthodox in the U.S. have an average of 7 children per family and the Modern Orthodox 3.4, while Reform Jews have only 1.34 and secular Jews only 1.2. Jonathan Sarna observed in the Dec. 2 Wall Street Journal that the Jewish organizations have undertaken no new census of American Jews in more than a decade. One wonders if they are afraid of what they might find today.

            Half of the non-Orthodox children, moreover, marry non-Jews, and very few children of mixed marriages will remain Jewish. As Reform Rabbi Lance J. Sussman wrote in 2010, “With the exception of a number of Orthodox communities and a few other bright spots in or just off the mainstream of Jewish religious life, American Judaism is in precipitous decline … the Reform movement has probably contracted by a full third in the last ten years!”

            BTW. I am married to an Israeli and I live among many Israelis and Israeli-Americans here in New York and I don’t see any evidence of a brain drain from Israel to New York.

          4. You’ve never heard of the small surviving remnant hav you? Likely because you’re a secular Jew & haven’t read much Isaiah. You should. Or how about Rabbi Yohanan ben Zakkai who abandoned besieged Jerusalem to found a school in Yavneh that trained the next generations of leaders after the Roman destruction of Jerusalem. You talk statistics & I talk values. You have no values except Israel, and Israel is not a value, it’s a country, and a deeply flawed one at that.

            If American Jews die ou it will bebbause they sold out their rich Diaspora culture for a bowl of Israeli porridge. Israel without the Diaspora means barreness.

            Your anecdotal experience is not scientifically valid. Read Prof Ian Lustick’s research on the outflow of Israel’s most technically skilled young people to the Diaspora. Btw if you live among Israelis in NY & don’t see a brain drain fr Israel, you’re implying that those Israeli among whom you live here in galut are among those who emigrated fr Israel leaving their brains behind.

          5. Loving remembrances of a truly great man.

            I dislike seeing such seemingly precise data discussed. Actually, reliable comparative statistics on assimilation, birthrates and intermarriage are notoriously difficult to assemble in the United States, which does not ask about “religion” in its national census. Instead, we have data based on a sample of Jews affiliated with temples that choose to respond to a given survey. Direct marketers in the USA looking for “Jewish births” and “Jewish weddings” come up with consistently higher numbers than the surveys cited — in part because there is error in “Jewish surname” and “Jewish neighborhood” matching and in part because so many women now keep their own names. However, an old post-censal survey in 1988 (latest available in complete form) also suggests more optimistic outlooks for the various non-orthodox Jewish communities. JJ Goldberg discussed a lot of this in several Forward articles a decade ago. Can’t put my finger on them at the moment.

  2. I just want to go on the record as saying how touched I am by this.

    The kind of Jewish thought that you learned, and the conclusions you came to, are comforting in light of my very different exposure. Bless you for being part of the solution.

    And also: I’m incredibly impressed that you could study those things and come to that conclusion, that early. So few 17-year-olds would even be able to separate out the emotional tone of the times from the intellectual consideration. Well done, young Richard – and well mentored, Rabbi Lukinsky.

  3. Richard, this is a moving tribute and a great reflection of you and your long-running passion and care for Israel. It’s nice to read such a human document. May your memories of Rabbi Lukinsky always bring you blessings.

    If your partner is looking for Israeli connections, I would be glad to be of assistance.

  4. Dear Richard:
    I am a long time friend and colleague of Joe Lukinsky from our years at Roosevelt University through our service on faculty at the Jewish Theological Seminary and beyond. My son accidentally came across your posting about Joe on the Internet. I remain in contact with his widow Betty (joeluk_2001 at yahoo.com) and sent her a copy of your wonderful depiction (sort of a eulogy) of Joe. She lives in Yerushalayim. I am retired from the Seminary and live in suburban Lawrence NY. Kol tuv,
    Burt Cohen

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