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We successfully launched buyisraelweek this week and Israel has been on my mind often. While we have been pushing products and services to help support the Israeli economy in face of the vicious attacks from the BDS – Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement, I was thinking about my love for the land. 

 

As a kid, my grandfather decided to send me and my cousin to summer camp in South Africa.  It was a last-minute decision and the camp that still had room for us was Betar, The youth movement of the secular right wing Likkud movement.  I had tons of fun and, for more than 12 years of going to camp, I was certainly infused with a very specific ideology.  For many years that ideology shaped my view of Israel.

Israel:

  • The land of our forefathers
  • The land of miracles
  • The land of past and present trials and tribulations
  • The land of good food, great beaches and rude people
  • The homeland for the Jews

 

The Israel I love is all of these things...and more.  Israeli wine is my favorite wine; a great wine producing climate and the influence of French winemakers makes Israeli wines top notch.

 

I really appreciate the entrepreneurial spirit that was shared in Dan Singers “Start up nation” that talks about Israel’s business success and It also talks about the lack of barriers in society that allow businesses to problem solve and to innovate.  My husband works for an Israeli company and I sometimes I hear his Skype conference calls and comments like, “Are you crazy or stupid with this idea?”  In the US, this would cause major backlash on a team. In Israel, this is just talking business.

 

I am always overwhelmed by the diversity of charities that support so many causes. It’s not surprising that people who understand the value of Tzedakah give so much.  What amazes me is that so many causes are touched by such passionate people.  In fact, today we are featuring charity deals on BUYISRAELWEEK so show you care..

 

My favorite movies are Israeli film festival movies.  Each movie focuses on a microcosmic issue in Israeli society and there is no shortage of issues.   These movies make me appreciate how complex Israeli society is and how amazing it is that our people live together – ok, it's a loud, noisy democracy but, yes, a dynamic one. 

 

And I love the Kotel – Western Wall.   I love seeing Jews from all over the world and across the religious and political spectrum gather there.  A Friday night at the wall is a taste of what Israel will be like when the Mashiach comes--everyone getting along because they are Jews.  We ran a very successful and controversial deal on jdeal and now on Buyisraelweek.  You can pay someone to  pray for you at the Wall http://www.jdeal.com/new-york?did=10917&dn=western-wall-prayers...  This deal sparked great discussion in the blogger sphere and Facebook – how can you pay someone to pray for you?   I will save the debate but we did have an overwhelming response and I think the reason is so many Jews understand that this is the place of ultimate spirituality and if you cannot be there yourself having someone as an emissary is good too.

 

I could go on all day but I want to hear from you, Metroimmas, about what you love about Israel. 

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Comment by Jamie Stolper on December 3, 2011 at 9:06am

   I love that most people speak Hebrew in Israel as their native or adopted language.  Of course, there are a hundred other languages spoken as well, but Hebrew has become not just a language of prayer and study, but a language of daily living.  It both amazes and warms me to hear so much Hebrew and with so many different accents.

   Which reminds of another aspect of Israel I love - its diversity.  Jews from all over the world and all religious persuasions, and non-Jews as well, make Israel their home.

   I love the physical beauty of the land of Israel, and also the emotional connection I feel with it based on Jewish history there.  What a powerful combination!

   There's more, but that's enough for now.  Thinking of my next visit!

Jamie
ShalomBoston
ShalomBoston's Israel Resources

Comment by Devorah Landau on December 1, 2011 at 5:13pm

Eretz Yisrael is my homeland.  In no other country do I feel as comfortable; in no other country is a Jew in the majority and Judaism a priority.  On my first trip to Israel at age 11, I remember looking at everyone on a Tel Aviv street and thinking, that grocer is a Jew; that waiter is a Jew; even that police officer is a Jew.   On Friday in Jerusalem, a siren blew so everyone, religious or not, knew Shabbat was beginning.  Strangers wished me Shabbat Shalom.   As I light my chanukiyah I dream of what it must be like to celebrate Chanukah in a place where it is a national holiday.  I dream of standing in Modin, where the Maccabees fought for the right to retain Jewish practice.  I dream of spinning a s’vivon with a peh instead of shin: Nes gadol haya po! There is so much history in this tiny country, the birthplace of Judaism.

                I remember standing in awe at the Kotel.  This was a wall of the Holy Temple.  This is all that remains.  Ever since, when I daven for the rebuilding of Jerusalem, I have that in mind.   I go crazy when I hear news reports castigating Bibi Netanyahu about building in East Jerusalem or settlements in the West Bank.  I don’t understand the liberal Jewish Americans who sympathize with Palestinians.  And Palestinians have dared to deny that the Kotel was part of the Holy Temple!  Why can’t the world get that Eretz Yisrael is holy to the Jews?  All our Torah stories take place there.  Many of our mitzvot can only be done there.

                What’s more, we need to live there!  We need a place for our people to go when the world is inhospitable to us.  Even in the US, where we have freedom of religion, there have been increased incidents of anti-Semitism.  A famous White House reporter, Helen Thomas, had the unmitigated nerve to tell us to “go back where we came from.” She said she meant Eastern Europe; ironically, if we went back to where we really came from, it would be to Eretz Yisrael.

                                I remember standing in a hillside grove.  The tour guide encouraged us to pick figs and then succulent grapes from a vine and pop them into our mouths.   I remember the sweetness of Israeli tomatoes.  I love what they’re called in Hebrew – agbaniyot.  Even vegetables sound better in Hebrew – milafafon, anyone?  When I returned to the US, I couldn’t eat the tomatoes from our supermarket, and somehow salad seemed like a good thing to eat for breakfast.   Ditto for the thick Israeli hummus – no more Sabra brand for me.  And don’t get me started on Israeli coffee.

                                I love the Israeli people.  The soldiers who are not much older than I am but still make me feel safe.  The taxi drivers who offer political opinions and know more about  American foreign policy than I do.  The old ladies at the market who insist on sharing recipes.  The girl at the cafe who asks me if I know her cousin from Teaneck, and I do!  The bus driver who asks if I have a place to go for Shabbat.  The concierge who always gives the same directions: yashar, yashar, yashar.

I love the upbeat, optimistic Israeli attitude.  Where else do you fast during a drought and then celebrate when it rains?  Where else is the answer to everything, yiyeh b’seder?  Hashem is closer in Eretz Yisrael.  I feel His presence as the sun deepens the pink of the Jerusalem stone.  I am home.

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