Jun 5, 2007

12 things about Israel

Israluv tagged me with the following message:

Today I received an email from Dudy Stark of Nefesh B'Nefesh:

This coming Shabbat, the Torah portion , Shelach, that recalls the sin of the spies, is read. These were the 12 men that Moshe sent to scout out the Land of Israel before entering. When they returned, their reports were distorted and negative and caused a 40 year delay before the Children of Israel could enter.

Today despite the challenges that come with living in Israel, we are witness to all that is good and special about living here and it is in our ability to tell our family, friends and neighbors abroad what those things are.

Nefesh B'Nefesh is initiating a simple project this week called "12 to 12". We are asking every Oleh to compose a list of 12 great things you appreciate and love about living in Israel and email your message to 12 (or more) friends abroad.

If you send this out to your friends, please CC 12to12@nbn.org.il when you send it out.

Please send out your letter before Friday June 8.
You can see Israluv's list of 12 things she loves about Israel at the above link.

I do not know how long one qualifies to be called an Oleh Chadash, but I have been here 17 years and do not consider myself an oleh chadash any longer. However, the letter just wants to hear from Olim, not necessarily chadashim, so I still qualify for this project.

I have been tagged over time for various meme's and generally have not participated (with the occassional exception). This is one I will participate in, due to the promotion of aliya therein and the expression of ahavat eretz yisrael, which is something that sometimes people need to be reminded about. After all, we spend a lot of time kvetching about Israel, so this is a good opportunity to say some nice things.

So, here goes with my list of 12 things I love about Israel:

  1. Being part of Jewish history, instead of watching from the sidelines
  2. Being able to go to places like Kever Yosef, Kever Yehoshua, Kever Rachel, Har Habayit - central places in Judaism.
  3. Knowing that every step I take is one that hundreds and thousands of years of Jews wished they could do so, but could not, and now we can.
  4. Israeli politics. something is always happening. Never a dull day.
  5. Everybody cares, despite the appearance of a gruff attitude. Walk down the street and everyone offers their opinions (try walking down the street with a baby not wearing a hat - see what happens).
  6. Israeli food (e.g. Burekas, Shwarma, falafel, hummus, tehina, etc..)
  7. Having access to amazing Talmidei Chachamim and Rabbonim, many of them posing as your average baal habayis.
  8. Softball (sure you have it in the US too, but Softball in Israel? the best!)
  9. cultural diversity
  10. beautiful countryside
  11. Hebrew
  12. "Acharon acharon Chaviv" - Yerushalayim. We daven all the time pining for Yerushalayim. We say and sing , "Next year in Jerusalem." In Israel, we have Jerusalem (albeit, not yet the rebuilt Jerusalem with the Temple). Cherish it, as Rabbi Frand would say (I do not remember about what he said it, but I hear him saying it in my mind from one of his tapes).

I am not going to tag anybody, but feel free to pick this up and make your own list....


  1. Great list Rafi, especially number 3. Even just visiting Israel I felt the same way. It felt like carrying the hopes and dreams of many generations before me.

    I'm pretty sure that #4 and #5 are related and that the interaction could almost count for an item of its own!

  2. RE: #7

    Thanks for the compliment! :-)

  3. I'm here more than twice as long as you. I can't imagine another life.

  4. Very nice list, great you love it in E''Y.

  5. Rafi, did you know that Mark coached "little league" in Yerush when we lived there? Had we stayed, I think he'd have made a living at it.

  6. that's cool. I had no idea one could make a living doing that....


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