Tuesday, June 5, 2007

12 to 12

Israel is in the press a lot at the moment, then again, that's nothing new, but this time, the world is not just wagging their accusatory finger and picking holes in this weeks big news story, they are casting their eyes back.

Just a few weeks ago, we marked Yom Yerushalaim. Forty years since the 2000 year exile from Jerusalem came one step closer to being truly over, and the Jewish nation gained access once again to our holy city. For some, this landmark is a true celebration, a time to thank whichever power, be it G-d or Man that they feel is responsible for this dream becoming a reality. Others will be marking forty years of the 'evil occupation'.

This morning I was tagged by in a meme/forward, started by Nefesh B'Nefesh is asking olim to list 12 things they love about Israel, 12 reasons they made aliya, and send them on to friends, family, and Jew's all around the world who have not yet made aliya... I'm going to have a go at mine.

1. Israel gives me an overwhelming sense of belonging. For as long as I can remember, I expressed my Judaism through my Zionism, and my lifestyle would be hypocritical on the streets of New York on London. From a pre-bar mitzvah age, I knew I would live in Israel one day - how could I deny myself my dream when it is so easy to accomplish.

2. I can wear a kippa with pride. I have a sense of security on the street. Sure, there are different threats, but I don't worry about getting mugged. I can walk the streets of Jerusalem at night. The police and security forces are my brothers, not foreigners.

3. G-d said so. We were given back the land, and the torah commands Jews to live in the land. Abraham "lech lecha"ed to an unknown land, and if I can't have even a little bit of faith, there would be a void in my life. I am far from being the best Jew in the world, the term modern othordox probably fits loosely, but my heart is in the right place.

4. Ancient and modern history is documented with almost single step I take. Be they plaques on street corners, or living remains of a time that once was. I can live history.

5. Pre-aliya, I would make toast, perhaps fry an egg if I wanted an easy meal - but that changed in Israel. No quick meal is complete without a Pitta. Everything and anything goes well, be it peanut butter, baked beans or shwarma. No meal is complete without!

6. In comparison to the level of care I know from before, I can not complete this list without mentioning medical care in Israel. It's something I haven't needed a great deal of, but from my limited experience, have definitely come to appreciate.

7. The care for one another. If you drop your wallet in town, you really might get it back. On a larger scale, during last summer's war, the entire country rallied round and opened their home, gave their clothes and volunteered to support the victims of the war. We see the same now in Sderot.

8. Jewish life is all around. I can easily to identify as a Jew, and when chagim come around, the entire country knows it. No need to explain to a boss why you need a day off mid-week just before a crucial deadline, because the deadline probably wont exist!

9. Speaking Hebrew.... it's not just a language, it's a language resurrected by pioneers of the land. Just as we have developed the state, we have developed our native tongue, and the efforts of those like Eliezer Ben Yehuda are alive today.

10. My social life is comprised of scores of people from around the globe. Together, we have our own community and support network. Sharing our previous experiences and upbringing is an education in it's own. After time, our friendships grow stronger, and now we can share our own "remember when..." stories from the early steps of our klita [absorption].

11. Our land may be small, but that's a great advantage. I can wake up camping on the coast, and by lunchtime be jeeping in the dessert or hiking through woodland. A vacation doesn't need to be two weeks in a foreign land (although that's nice sometimes too), there is so much beauty to discover and experience here, and all you need is an overnight bag.

12. Family isn't just blood - it's a phenomena that runs much deeper, and even throughout the passage of time. Personally, my Mum living in the same city is a blessing I would never change, but for everyone making aliya "on their own", there is an extended family waiting to take you in.

Sure, it might be harder to save up for that second home or dream vacation, but why do I need a lavish vacation or luxury car when every single second, every moment of my day, I am living the ultimate dream.

"If you will it, it is no dream."

Now it's time to hear your's - I tag Valley of Ghosts, Lizrael, Gila, Dot co Dot il and Calev.

The original message text is here:
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

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