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Rabbi in Israel

Rabbi in Israel

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First 36 hours in Israel

What a whirlwind first 24 hours here in Jerusalem.  If you ask me if it lived up to my expectations,  the answer is a resounding yes and even more that I could imagine and in so many ways. 

From the moment we landed at Ben Gurion airport and hearing Hebrew being spoken all around you, seeing all the Hebrew signs and being greeted at customs with shalom and welcome to Israel was surreal for all of us especially the children.

The first day was more relaxing just strolling around beautiful Yerushalyim. The beautiful night time breeze was especially thrilling.

This morning started off in the most meaningful way,  7am as we all took a fifteen minute walk from our apartment to the Kotel, the Western wailing wall.  Walking through Shaar Yafo, the Jaffa gate with the sun rising over magnificent Yerushalyim is beyond description.  Watching my children reach the Kotel , the holiest place in Judaism, for the very first time in their life,  as they kissed the holy stones with trepidation and awe, was a sight I will never forget.  Praying for all of you made me feel closer to home and to those we love and care about. 

We then visited the Mini Israel museum which the kids loved as it had everything in Israel in small. It was a great beginning for the kids to get to know their homeland, with an awesome 3D movie of our beautiful land.

We then went to the Laturn Army Base Museum which is a tank museum. It is a memorial to all the tankers that were killed in battle since 1948 and gave my  kids a tremendous feeling for the sacrifice that it took and still takes for the Jewish people to have a homeland that we can all call home. 

After delicious dinner in Ben Yehuda at the burger bar we walked to the Old City again at dusk to the Tower of David for the most amazing light and sound show.  We walked home and Grunie and I look at each other in disbelief as we watched our children merrily walking  on the Walls of Jerusalem,  on our way home to Mamila. 

I will finish off with the most powerful quote I saw at the tank museum that had a tremendous impact on me,  it was dedicated to the fallen soldiers and said as follows,  loose translation: 

"They are smiling,  they will always smile like this,  these are their faces and this is their eternal smile on their faces,  after their last sigh they had."  

Wow what else can I say as I think of this country,  the 64 soldiers who just lost their life and the thousands who were plucked at a young age defending the Jewish right to a homeland.

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Preparing for the Flight

 

Dear community

It is with great excitement that Grunie and I prepare to embark on our trip to Israel together with all our children this coming Monday

This is a big trip for us, Grunie and I have never been to Israel together I haven’t been in twelve years and Grunie in 17 years and our children have never been to Israel.

We are so grateful to our community for facilitating this trip and look forward to including you in it.

It is by no coincidence that we leave to Israel  after this Shabbat Vaetchanan. In the portion of Vaetchanan Moses begins by reminding the Jewish people of how much he pleaded and begged the Almighty to be able to enter the Holy Land of Israel. In fact the sages tell us that the word Vaetchanan, which means and I pleaded (which is the name of the portion) is the Numerical value of 515, because Moses begged and pleaded with the almighty 515 times to be able to enter the land of Israel, until G-d told him to stop.

Can you imagine, our great leader Moshe, who took us out of Egypt, split the sea, received the Torah and nurtured us for 40 years in the dessert, pleaded 515 times to be able to step foot into the Holy Land and G-d did not allow him. G-d tells him to go onto Mount Avarim and see the land but he will not enter.

This episode puts into perspective our coming trip to Israel for our family. We are filled with joy and passion for our trip but realize the awesome magnitude of the trip from Moshe’s prayers.

Speaking to my children I was telling them about the custom that the first time you arrive in Israel the tradition is to bow down and kiss the holy earth of Eretz Yisrael as you arrive, cherishing its holiness, but at the same time the custom is to tear your clothing, realizing that the Temple is still destroyed and the Jewish people still dispersed in exile.

These two approaches are how I feel about the upcoming trip. On one hand we are excited, happy and very looking forward to this wonderful trip.

Are we ambivalent? Of course we are, we recognize the challenges that Israel faces, an unflinching enemy who has no regard for the sanctity of life and would rather kill and destroy than build. However we are reminded that our dear Rebbe always quoted from the bible in Deuteronomy “The land that the eyes of the lord are watching it from the beginning of the year to the end of the year” and no that this is especially true now.

Grunie & I hope to be able to include you in our trip through daily posts and pictures on this blog. Please comment so we can hear from you.

Shabbat Shalom and see you in Shul on Shabbat

Rabbi Mendy

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