Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Why I love living in Israel

Wandering through some back-streets in downtown Jerusalem yesterday, I stumbled across a small alley (below) which had been furnished with a few benches and trees. Although it wasn't exactly pretty, this little passage had certainly been made less drab.

As I walked along the passage, I saw two notices, captured in the picture above, on one of the walls. I didn't pay too much attention to them at first, but as I approached I noticed that the one on the left was rather different to your average street sign. As I came over to read it, I noticed that something else came, too... a big smile over my face :) Here's the sign from closer up.

For those of you who don't read Hebrew proficiently, the sign reads:
In the month of Nissan, Jews customarily recite a blessing upon seeing two blossoming fruit trees: "Blessed are You, Hashem, Lord of the universe, that subtracts nothing from his world, and created in it good creations and good trees, so that mankind may enjoy of them."

It delighted me to see this ancient Jewish tradition being practiced and honoured. But more than that, in this most tumultuous of cities, it was nothing less than lovely to see this simple plaque.

While there can be intense friction between the Haredi sector and the more liberal end of Israeli society, and while Jews and Arabs remain locked in bitter conflict, it was beautiful to see how faith need not be thrust upon others forcefully.

It's such a simple thing, but yet something that makes me so incredibly happy and thankful. To be able to live in a place where Jewish traditions, preserved over centuries of persecution and near-extinction, are now flourishing once again really is an incredible thing. For me, this is the essence of the Jewish state; it's what separates us from all the other countries on earth. For all over the religious struggle between the different streams of Judaism, from the Haredi to the reform, we can all agree on the beauty of blessings such as this and be grateful for seeing our ages-old traditions being brought to the fore in our home city of Jerusalem.

For moments such as this, I truly do thank God.


  1. I love your blog, Elan. It's posts like this that really make me smile. (Though it's all great!)

  2. hey elan

    this post is so beautiful, as is eretz yisrael... i miss it so much.