From US Sports Cars to Samarian Sheep: Meet the Jewish Shepherd
Arutz Sheva met Avraham Herzlich, a shepherd from the Shomron (Samaria) community of Kfar Tapuach.
Herzlich, who lived a comfortable life in the United States, chose to leave it all and move to Israel to become a shepherd. He is the father of Talya Kahane of blessed memory, who was murdered in a terror attack in December of 2000 along with her husband, Rabbi Binyamin Ze’ev Kahane.
The Kahanes were killed when Arab terrorists fired at their vehicle south of the Shomron community of Ofra, as they were driving from Jerusalem to their home in Kfar Tapuach.
“I felt the emptiness of America,” Herzlich said, explaining why he came to Israel. “Everyone is running around doing things and no one is doing anything of any significance. What do you achieve by playing on a computer?”
Herzlich left America at the age of 23. “I didn’t know anything about Judaism. I knew almost no Hebrew except for Shalom. On the boat I met some students who were going to study at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem for a year.
“When you go by boat, when you go slowly,” he said, “you have a feeling that you’re getting close to something very important. When going by plane, you’re jumping from place to place. Easy come easy go. You go and you come back very easily. When I got to Israel by boat, I stayed.”
Upon his arrival in Israel, Herzlich joined a group of Jews from Yemen and through them was able to connect to the Torah.
“They’re very humble and simple people, and I like simplicity,” he said.
Explaining his decision to become a shepherd, Herzlich said, “Our forefathers, our ancestors – this was part of their life: a tent which was made from the hair of goats. As a matter of fact, the Tabernacle in the desert was made from hair of goats.”
He explained why he remains in Shomron and why he continues to be a shepherd despite his personal loss as a bereaved father.
“We’re at war now,” he said. “We are commanded to be ready. Every second they might come and put a knife in my back. When I’m in the field alone, I have a knife with me. I have an attack dog with me.
“There are hundreds of goats here. When they spread out in the field, they take a big piece of land. The Arabs on the road see this, and they respect me.”