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Aug 26, 2008

Life in Israel. L'Chaim and Mazel tov!

I do not remember the exact day, but it was about 4 or 5 days before Rosh Chodesh Elul.

I was never one to be overly sentimental and make scrapbooks and save airplane tickets for memories or stuff like that, so I have no way of looking up the exact date.

18 years ago, just about to the day (about 4 or 5 days before Rosh Chodesh Elul so I am choosing today), I stepped off the airplane in the Holy Land for the very first time. I was coming, on a spur of the moment decision, to learn for the year in Eretz Yisrael.

Little did I know, that would be one of the most monumental decisions of my life. And typical of me, I made it with almost no forethought and preparation. Just decided one day, after not even having considered it previously.

After my first year in Israel, I was planning on returning to the US to learn and go to college. Little did I know that over the summer vacation I would realize I wanted to go back to Israel. So I did. Another spur of the moment decision.

That year, I began keep the halachic fiction of "a day and a half of yom tov". Because I was pretty sure I wanted to stay, but my Rosh Yeshiva was not convinced at that point that I was sure enough to switch to one day.

After my second year I once again waited until the summer to decide to stay a third year. But I decided I was coming back, and I came back. By now, the fourth year was not even a question. and at some point during the year my Rosh Yeshiva knew I was staying and told me I could keep "one day yom tov".

I stayed in Israel and have never looked back. I am now turning 36. I first came when I was turning 18. Chai (18) years in Israel. Life in Israel.

I have now spent more than half my life living in Israel. I think I qualify for status of "Oleh Vatik" or "Toshav Vatik" by now.


  1. Mazal tov! That's an anniversary to be proud of.

  2. Dear Rafi,
    Mazel tov!! We need many more people like yourself in this country. Keep up all your good work.

    Kol tov,


  3. מזל טוב

    but where did your wife come from?

  4. we met in Israel, but she is originally from Texas via Los Angeles.

  5. B"H

    Mazal Tov! Yes, you're an oleh wathiq for sure!

    Kol HaKavod for pirsum ha'emeth regarding the day and a half of yom tov myth.

    I can wish you a Happy Birthday when it gets closer. Mine's 3 days before, so easy to remember.

    2 * 18, huh?

  6. whats the concept of day and a half?

  7. thanks all.

    Anonymous at the end - a day and a half is commonly used when one wants to stay in israel but is not yet definite or clear about it. The day and a half means you officially keep it chol (davening and the like), but you do not do any melacha. being the chumros of both aspects - chol and yom tov.

  8. Wow, 18 years here that is quite impressive!

  9. May you have "chai times chai" more years in our Holy Land. May you know only peace, happiness, success and blessings.

    (And let us all say "Amen".)

  10. amen!
    But really? 324 more years? Everybody wants to live a long life, but isn't that a bit much?

  11. Hmm how many kids do you have? (Maybe I intended for you to split it with them and/or the wife.)

  12. touche... but then why only 324?

  13. Weeeeeeell, that's why I asked how many kids you have!

    Ahhh this is too much for me! Tell me which brocha you'd like and I'll hand deliver it to you (bli neder) word for word. Bseder??

  14. lol... 7 kids, but it is fine the way it is! Great bracha. thanks


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