This week, we celebrated the 75th birthday of the modern State of Israel.
It is very common to read about the problems in Israel and to hear the criticism.
How about pausing that for a while and trying to focus on the good?
HaShem gave us an incredible gift and it’s time we acknowledge that!
So… here’s an original list I wrote. My name is Mazal Gottesman, the daughter of Shmuel and Rhonda Sackett. My parents made Aliyah with 4 “American imports” and were then blessed with 2 “Made in Israel” – I’m their first child born in Israel! I live with my husband and 2 children in Ramle…. a city with a majority of Arabs. Our presence is very important in Ramle, and we are dedicated to bringing Jewish life back to this city. I am a teacher in the local school and feel very blessed to have the opportunity to live here. Everyone reading this article is invited to visit us in Ramle! Send me an email and I’ll invite you for a meal: MazalSak@gmail.com
Happy Yom Ha’Atzmaut!
1) Simply because HaShem, my Father, gave it to me. (Doesn’t matter if it's dangerous or not, it’s the most beautiful place in the world, I just love it)
2) I get to live with the people of Israel!
3) I have a connection to my neighbors. I love them, care about them and I'm sad if someone hurts them
4) I can be religious and feel at home
5) It is sacred, unlike other countries. I really feel the kedusha (holiness) here!
6) Everyone is risking their lives for each other
7) My 5,000-year history is here
8) My future, and the whole future of the people of Israel, is here… and nowhere else
9) I go to the places written in the TaNaCH (Bible)
10) The language (Hebrew) is our holy language
11) Everyday life is meaningful! Example: Memorial Day is a significant day (unlike the USA where it is a day of celebration and shopping)
12) Everyone makes a circumcision for their son even though it is not obligatory by law
13) The Knesset has 120 seats like the "Great Knesset" in Jewish history
14) The rain is directly related to our actions
15) On Jewish holidays (not Xmas or Easter…) buses have signs: "Chag Sameyach" (Happy Holiday!)
16) Everyone gets up for each other on the buses
17) Everyone, from a young age, volunteers. They focus on giving, not just on their resume and careers
18) I always feel safe moving around alone (and I do not feel that way in other countries). PS - Ask every Jew, they feel the same way.
19) You can get anywhere by public transportation
20) The youth are very mature. (They prepare for the army while still in high school)
21) People don’t mind getting dirty
22) People are totally open and honest with each other. I get advice from strangers and can have a deep conversation with a random person on the street
23) People are not obsessed with eating. They take care of themselves
24) There are many soldiers and National service girls who strive for the most significant position. They don’t just run to something easy
25) Almost all the food is kosher
26) People are open to differences. (Secular and religious want to meet, right and left are friends ...)
27) You can feel and see the presence of HaShem in wars
28) Weddings are done according to Halacha – even by the most secular people
29) People sit and sing together on the street
30) People call each other "brothers" (Achi!!)
31) In times of war, (and really, always) people take care of each other. They will host you in their home, travel to Gaza to give you pizza, or gather to pray for you.
32) The views are stunning
33) Here I can keep all the mitzvot that depend on the land
34) There are immigrants who do not know the alphabet, but they immigrate anyway just because they are Jewish
35) Music is meaningful. And even when the song is not significant, it's not even close to the level that other countries have.
36) Even the most non-religious Jews turn to HaShem in time of need.
37) It does not rain all year round so you can actually plan outdoor events throughout the summer!
38) Shwarma in Israel - yummy!
39) Taxi drivers have a lot of smart things to say, and they will always talk to you (whether you asked them to, or not…)
40) I love the IDF lone soldiers / National service girls – what dedication!
41) You can feel every Jewish holiday and not even notice that a non-Jewish holiday is taking place
42) The children study TaNaCH (Bible) in kindergarten
43) There are idealistic people who live in difficult places
44) In addition to the holy sites, there are also malls, movie theaters and sports centers (this is a modern country)
45) So many types of Jews in such a small place! You can travel from Bnei Brak to Tel Aviv to the Shomron and meet many different types of Jews
46) 97% of the people fast on Yom Kippur even though no one asked them to
47) The names of the streets are significant
48) People are not afraid to touch each other and hug
49) We do everything to bring Jews home in trouble - just because they are Jews
50) Every Jew can get citizenship (and the state even sends "emissaries" to help them)
51) Walking in Jerusalem fills my heart with a good feeling (and every Jew feels it!)
52) Because the soldiers who fought for the establishment of the state were of all ages (Did you know there was a 10-year-old soldier during the War of Independence?)
53) HaShem is here – just look around you - the Dead Sea, green mountains, desert ...
54) Israel is flourishing just as it is written in the prophecies that will be at the time of Redemption!!!!
55) The world knows we are significant - they are always looking at us and the UN talks about our small country as if we occupy half the world!
56) Shabbat is a free day here
57) The country is just 75 years old but look how far we have come in technology, medicine, transportation, and population!
58) Everyone is involved in politics, and they have their opinion… and will let you know it!
59) We do not need to worry so much about assimilation and intermarriage
60) A college student begins his/her major on their first day in university – no wasting time!
61) People use phrases from the TaNaCH (Bible) all the time
62) When there is 2 inches of snow, the whole country shuts down!
63) Everyone comes from a different background and has a different culture
64) The state was established when our Nation was so broken, but we chose not to stay like that!
65) The number of children per family is rising (while, Baruch HaShem, declining among our enemies)
66) There is more Torah studied here than ever before in Jewish history!
67) It does not matter how much our enemies bother us - we grow, settle, and do not leave
68) While not all Jews seem to be devoted to HaShem, they still run and get excited to fight in His army, ready to risk their life! That’s the greatest Mitzvah!
69) There are many husbands in the military while their wives are managing the house and family. They truly live with devotion
70) There is so much more land waiting to be built and settled by all the Jews who have not yet returned home
71) Many communities will take care to bring you food if, G-d forbid, you are sitting shiva (All days of shiva are also excused absences from work and cannot be deducted from vacation or sick days)
72) We care more about human life than the economy (as we saw during Covid)
73) Here is where I live a meaningful life in many ways - place of residence, unity with other Jews, Torah observance...
74) Here I gave birth to my children
75) And finally, I love Israel because the country is not yet perfect which leaves me with expectations, dreams for the future, and lots of hard work to do!