Are there any rabbis who have pulpits outside of Israel and who have no plans to move to Israel themselves, but who actively and sincerely try to get their congregants to move to Israel?

I don't believe I've ever run into one, and I suspect that they're not too common, because:

  • The fact that they choose not to move to Israel themselves could make it difficult for them to recommend that course of action to others, even if their own choice is driven by completely justified reasons that apply to them and not [many of] their congregants.

  • There's a natural disincentive to any rabbi to recommend that his congregants leave his congregation.

However, given that moving to Israel is the right thing to do for at least some significant subset of diaspora Jews, some diaspora rabbis may see it as their responsibility to promote it, despite the above considerations, just as they promote other virtuous activities (e.g. minyan attendance, in-depth learning, or procreation) that may be available only to some congregants.

I'm wondering if anyone can produce any examples thereof.

  • 1
    Hah, reminds me of the story of R' Yehudah ha-Levi: over the course of his life, he became convinced that a person should yearn for EY. The Khazar king in the Kuzari called the Chacham out for not going, and eventually RYhL moved there himself from Spain. This, when it took weeks or months and EY was largely wasteland IIUC.
    – yitznewton
    Nov 3, 2011 at 15:22
  • Rabbi Lamm is not a pulpit rabbi, but here is what he said almost 47 years ago, on Yom Haatzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) - download.yutorah.org/2012/1053/… Apr 22, 2012 at 23:06
  • I'm not sure this is answerable without some clarification about what constitutes, for purposes of this question, promotion. Does a congratulatory speech at a soon-to-be-'Oleh's farewell Kiddush count? What about positive encouragement in private conversations with congregants who are seeking guidance about making such a decision? What about teaching laws pertaining to the land? If any of those meet your definition, then the rabbi of your Shul fits the bill. What about ending every Derashah with, "May we be Zocheh to a Geulah Sheleimah BiMheirah"? If so, the rabbi of my parents' Shul does.
    – Seth J
    Mar 11, 2015 at 16:39
  • @SethJ The body of the question says "actively and sincerely try to get their congregants to move to Israel." Of the actions you listed, only the second one - positive encouragement - would at all qualify, though I was thinking more of public advocacy, e.g. saying "you should consider making Aliya" from the pulpit. I have indeed heard statements similar to this from my current rabbi, from the pulpit, and this is one of the many things I like about him.
    – Isaac Moses
    Mar 11, 2015 at 16:42

2 Answers 2


Off the top of my head:

  • Rabbi Pruzansky (http://rabbipruzansky.com) of Teaneck, NJ's Bnai Yeshurun is a great promoter of Aliyah in his community.

  • Rabbi Avi Weiss of the Hebrew Institute of Riverdale (NY) (http://www.hir.org/) is also outspoken about the importance of Aliyah.

  • Rabbi Lopatin of Anshe Shlomo B'nai Israel (http://www.asbi.org/) spoke for many years about Aliyah and in the past few years decided he's finally making the move this year -- and bringing a number of the congregation's families along with him.

  • 1
    The first two count most.
    – Isaac Moses
    Nov 27, 2011 at 2:39
  • Isaac Moses, please avoid using hurtful words. Dec 2, 2011 at 6:59
  • 1
    @AdamMosheh, My point was that for the purposes of this question, which is asking for examples of rabbis who have no plans to move to Israel themselves, R' Lopatin doesn't really count, since he, in fact, is planning to do so (though, aside from my question, I'm certainly glad to hear that he's leading the way to the Promised Land!). I did not mean, God forbid, to suggest any negative evaluation of any of these rabbis.
    – Isaac Moses
    Apr 17, 2012 at 14:41
  • @IsaacMoses - Sorry, I didn't understand it that way. Thanks for clarifying. Apr 17, 2012 at 19:03
  • R Lopatin never made Aliyah in the end. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asher_Lopatin
    – Double AA
    Nov 10, 2016 at 5:29

4 of the Rabbis at the shul I grew up in (over the past 20+ years) have encouraged many people to make Aliyah. There was a big celebration done when people made the decision and many drashot emphasized it's importance. Out of an average size of 250 families per year, I can off the top of my head think of 13 families that made Aliyah, or have returned to Israel after making Yeridah. It is a small shul based in California.

However, 2 of them when leaving the congregation ended up making Aliyah, and all of them at some point had a position in Israel at one point or another in their lives. Although I imagine that fact was part of the reason they were hired in the first place.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .