Jewish Guy of the Week – Jonathan

How many Jews can fly?
Based on the “prophecy” explained by various Hahamim & Rabbis, it was explained to our fathers hundreds of years ago that during the time of redemption, all Jews will find their way back to the land of Israel, on eagles’ wings (in Hebrew: Al Kanfei Nesharim). “Parshat Yitro” (Shemot/ Exodus – Chapter 19), which will be read next Shabbat, quotes the Creator as saying, “You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and [how] I bore you on eagles’ wings, and I brought you to Me.”

In 1903, two Americans — the Wright brothers — succeeded in flying the first controlled human flight, which was for a long time considered “mankind’s oldest dream.”   More than 100 years, later we can now perceive what this “prophecy” means. Israel is a political island, and the primary means of transportation to and from Israel is via airplane. Today, the biggest aircraft in the world can carry up to 800 passengers (the Airbus A380)…. How many A380s would we need to fly all the Jews back to Israel during the time of the redemption…? That is the question…

Tell us about a Magic Carpet?
Well, the secret operation “Magic Carpet,” which flew 49,000 Yemenite Jews to Israel in 1949 and 1950, was nicknamed Operation “Kanfei Nesharim.” [Recommended reading: Parshat Yitro and On Eagles’ Wings: Moshiach (Messiah), Redemption, and the World to Come by Rabbi Hershel Brand – ISBN 1568712146].

You are French. Do you ever miss the other side of the ocean?
I am French and Israeli, and I miss both the other side of the Ocean and the other side of the Mediterranean Sea. Crossing the Atlantic takes 6 hours, crossing the Mediterranean Sea took us 2000 years of hope and faith. I miss Israel, as being our home, the home of the Jews. I miss France for the  food and culture, but don’t miss the difficulties of being a Jew in France (Antisemitism is severe).  I am proud to live in America, and proud of the values, history and culture of this country (e.g. the respect for freedom of religion, the respect for each other while living in society). The USA is the greatest country in the world, and that’s a fact, but while encountering Jews living here, I always face the same dilemma…. Do you consider yourself an American-Jew or a Jewish-American? Think about that… As a Frenchman… I consider myself to be Jewish-French, and as an Israeli, I am Jewish at Home!

Where can we find you on a Friday night?
Use Google Latitude on your iPhone ;-), or look for me at home, cooking a Shabbat dinner with my close friends or relatives (I love to cook… either the French or Israeli way), or at any of the Jewish Young Professionals events (Mesorah DC @ Sixth & I, The Shul/Chabad, or even at some friend’s place like… such as the home of the founder of this website…).

What is different about the US Jewish young adult scene in DC?
What makes it different is the maturity and the melting-pot of highly talented and smart Jews living here in the DC.  They come from all continents and work in the world’s most prestigious organizations.  I love to meet and get to know young professional Jews in DC, especially with regards to the numerous fascinating events that are taking place all over the greater DC area!

Do you eat rice on Passover?
Based on my Ashkenazi roots no, but based on my Sephardic roots yes…. but I am Israeli too… and I love sushi and rolls! So I might switch soon and allow rice because there is enough tasteless food during this holiday! I just need to ask the Rabbi…

When you are not in the sky, what do you enjoy doing?
So being in the skies is not my job, but my hobby… I actually work in the airline industry on the business side (www.jonathanaflalo.com) and the world has become a global village, especially when I fall asleep in Washington DC and wake up in the morning in Paris! Besides looking at today’s “eagles’ wings,” I love partying (and sometimes DJing), cooking with friends, watching great movies, reading and writing publications and books, and just living my life (or as they say in Hebrew, La’assot H’aim)!

If you had to fly with any Jew to Israel, who would it be?
Follow the path of Mashiach on today’s Eagles’ Wings to the Geula, the redemption (Amen)! Or… having the privilege to fly with anyone who hasn’t been to Israel yet, and show him  the Home of the Jews!