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If You Lived in Israel …

If you lived in Israel, then when you went to the supermarket, you could see two beautiful Jewish Ethiopian women in their high headdresses, hugging each other. They would be your check-out girls.
If you lived in Israel, then on Christmas, you could see parents taking pictures of their delighted children seeing a Christmas tree for the first time at Jerusalem’s YMCA. They’d be explaining what Christmas was to children who had never heard of it.
If you lived in Israel, you wouldn’t worry at all if your teenagers walked through the streets at eleven PM because you know it’s perfectly safe.
If you lived in Israel, you could get a kosher bacon cheeseburger at the shuk and eat it among yeshiva boys and seminary girls. And on Thursday nights, you could sit at a table amid a bustling crowd drinking gourmet local beer and eating delicious local snacks with your friends, during the weekly shuk street party.
If you lived in Israel, you could go scuba diving in the Red Sea, and then travel a few hours by car to go skiing in the Golan Heights.If you lived in Israel, then you would never be the quaint minority with its interesting, quaint holidays. All the Jewish holidays would be the national holidays, and supermarkets would offer you discounted jars of honey for Rosh Hashana, and free dairy recipe booklets for Shavuot, and packages of doughnuts with dreidels for Chanukah, and decorations for your Sukkah on Sukkot. On the other hand, you wouldn’t be able to find bread or pasta, cake or cookies for the entire week of Passover, all of it removed or covered up on the shelves. And the lines would be long with people all buying the same things, getting ready for the same holidays, Jewish holidays.

If you lived in Israel, you would be able to walk in the middle of street on Yom Kippur because no one was driving, and not a single store or business was open and every synagogue on every street was filled to bursting to members and casual visitors.If you lived in Israel, every news headline, every victim of crime or terrorism would be removed from you with one degree of separation. A hundred percent of the time, when the country mourned, you too would mourn and when the country rejoiced, you too would rejoice, together with your family, your close and distant neighbors, and people sitting on the bus and buying a falafel, or on line in the medical clinic.

If you lived in Israel, you would probably live on a street named after a Jewish patriarch, or a Hebrew king or prophet, or some hero or founder or educator or author or poet in the Jewish state.

If you lived in Israel, your children and grandchildren would get an excellent free Jewish and secular education (proof: my Israel-educated son got a full fellowship to and a Ph.d from Harvard, and my grandson is this year’s Rhodes scholar), universal health insurance from birth, free vocational training and excellent experience during their army service at the age eighteen, and then afterwards scholarships for college, as well as preferential housing benefits.

If you lived in Israel then every day you lived, you would feel at home in a place where the Jewish people were loved and respected, Jewish holidays and customs and religious rites familiar and cherished, and where your enemies had to contend with a Jewish army, air force and navy, Jewish police, Jewish judges, and a Jewish code of law. You could wear a kippah and a Magen David at all times in all places without fear, surrounded by your people, beloved, helped, protected, not in spite of the fact you were a Jew, but because of it.

If you can, come home.

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22 comments on “If You Lived in Israel …”

  1. Dalya Horowitz

    Beautiful article. It should be the centerpiece of any story for Aliya. And you are totally correct about all of it.
    I lived in Israel for over 2 years when I was younger. Loved every minute and have been back 8 times since.
    Luckily, I have raised Zionist children and grandchildren and they’re dedicated to Israel.
    Thanks for making my day brighter.

  2. Dalya

    Beautiful article. It should be the centerpiece of any story for Aliya. And you are totally correct about all of it.
    I lived in Israel for over 2 years when I was younger. Loved every minute and have been back 8 times since.
    Luckily, I have raised Zionist children and grandchildren and they’re dedicated to Israel.
    Thanks for making my day brighter.

  3. Dr David Vladimir Kolnick

    Thank you, Naomi.
    In the short time she has been in existence, Israel has certainly made contributions to the world in virtually every field. Whether it be in technology, medicine, science, agriculture and drip irrigation, water recycling and desalination, energy and solar power etc. Israel has been amongst the first to respond to world disasters, not only by providing the necessary supplies but by being there in person to assist those in distress.
    However I believe Israel should devote more time and energy into the field of education, to help change current behavior worldwide, particularly in the field of ethics and values. Israel already has the most ethical army around. How do we teach honesty, compassion, health, spirituality, safety, strength (not only physically, but also emotionally)? In my holistic and intuitive educational called Gimme 5, I have 15 value-based animated poster dudes, on which my school curricula are based.
    These values can also be related to Biblical characters for Jewish and Israel education. Helpful Dude – Abraham; Caring Dude – Ruth: Strong Dude – Samson: Spiritual Dude – Aaron or Jesus; Happy Dude – Miriam: Safe Dude – Isaac etc.
    The world needs educational programs that teachers enjoy teaching, and that pupils enjoy learning for both formal and informal education. A formidable TOOL in the hands of the teacher, madrich, volunteer, camp counselor to make him/her more dynamic in their approach.
    I am hoping that Naomi can put me in touch with the top Israeli and Jewish educators and philanthropists, and that Gimme 5 can play a small part in making the world a better place, for you and for me and the entire human race – quoting the late Michael Jackson. Gimme 5 through the question bases on my board games can teach any subject, at any level and in any language. The pupils want to win and don’t mind answering questions, and don’t realise they are learning. We have the ideal role models and decision making opportunities.
    Yours in health and education,
    David Vladimir Kolnick. Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
    P S Vladimir named after Jabotinsky, my late father’s mentor.

  4. Pingback: If You Lived in Israel … - Israel News

  5. Glenda Urmacher

    Wonderful article Naomi, I married in Israel 57 years ago, and took a son of Israel home with me to America.
    The thought of raising children in Israel, and that they might perish in a war when they served, deterred me from living there.
    It has been a hole in my heart every since, and we have been to Israel at least 10 -15 times.
    I also had all my family in America, and my husband’s family( step mother) were terrible people, who mistreated him as a child and young man..
    Not only Hitler was cruel to Jews.
    I made the right move for him, and he blossomed in America, and felt like he belonged here.
    I was the one who missed the country, and the people of Israel.
    But we go often and will be going with Jewish National Fund this March for a few weeks.
    I wish I could afford a home there now.
    I would come for 3 to 6 month every year.
    Oh well.
    Thats life.
    Lovely piece

  6. NAOMI ROMM

    Naomi thank you for this wonderful post. Just recently I was to NBN and started the process for aliyah.

  7. Vicki

    As a blessed, grafted in Torah keeper , I read you regularly. This was one of the best for me. I pray you will always have a voice, but, more so, that there will continue to be ears to hear.

  8. Prof. Melvin Propis MD

    A compare and contrast piece that gives an accurate snapshot of the average Israeli experience. High School Graduates walking around with loaded assault rifles and we have no fear that the weapon will be used inappropriately. We all learned that high barriers can and do keep out undesirable aliens at the border. Sadly, Israeli politicians are pretty much like their counterparts over the planet, they are the best money can buy. Experiencing the entire nation observing the same holiday is one of my most cherished memories. Israel is my spiritual home, my plan is to live there, with family, several months a year.

  9. Mitah Mouquet

    Too true, when my daughter lived in Israel we could walk back home after visiting friends late at night without any bother and the assurance all would be fine. One night after visiting family in Hadera I saw a huge light menorah in the middle of the boulevard. My heart filled with a strange feeling of belonging. Nowhere in the world this could happen but in this precious piece of Land which is rightly called Holy.

  10. Karen Tillson

    Beautiful, it brought tears to my eyes. I was in Israel in 2006 for the fall holidays. Perhaps one day,…. I pray there will be peace in the hearts of many. I pray G-d will bring His comfort to all those who have lost loved ones and friends from terror attacks.. My heart goes out to the families as many others feel this way as well.
    Karen Barresi-Tillson

  11. Brad Allen

    Naomi, beautiful article. I am an old Baptist Pastor from Oklahoma. I have read all of your books and loved them. I will be coming to Israel in March, 2019 for the 11th time. Can’t wait to see it again. Take care and may HIS peace be upon you.

  12. Roslyn Goldstine

    IF ONLY. Easier said than done. Beautiful article. Roz Goldstine

  13. Barbara Schlossman

    What a beautiful article. Forwarding to my grandchildren.

  14. Ronald Gottlieb

    I have always enjoyed your blog posts & this is one of the all time bests. Very powerful. Brought tears to my eyes. I hope to retire soon & start spending at least a few months a year in our true home- Israel.

  15. dianne varon

    I have only been to Israel once but both my husband and I had the same special feeling when we first landed in Israel. There’s something very very special about Israel. It’s like G-D gave the land back to his people. We are both too old to go back (in part because of our wonderful children and grandchildren) but if we were younger I believe I would love to live there. Everyone was wonderful and helpful and seeing all the beautiful boys and girls walking around in uniform with their guns certainly made us feel very safe. They were so sweet. We pray they will be safe. G-D bless them.

  16. Sue Deutsch

    A touching and uplifting article. However, Israel is not the the Garden of Eden and America is not Gehenna. I lived in Israel, and gave birth to 2 of my 3 children there many years ago. My son-in-law is Israeli. I know the country has changed tremendously since I was there. Certainly in many ways for the better. But in other ways–not! The early leaders of Israel made mistakes, but they were not corrupt.

    As for America, it has also changed. And also in some ways for the better(certainly for women) but in other ways not. We see anti-Semitism now overt on both the extreme right and left. We see the horrible increase in shootings, in every imaginable venue, including synagogues and churches. Schools are no longer safe. Certainly moving to Israel may be a good decision. It certainly seems to be one for many Jews from Europe.

    But there is still good here. And so many of us have not given up on America yet!

  17. Carol Levine

    Thank you for this article. I moved to Israel in 1970 with my husband from Chicago. It took me a while to get over the feeling of being self-conscious of the fact that I am a Jew.

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