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Audio: Biblical Shepherd from Brooklyn Copes with Stolen Herd of Goats

Avraham Herzlich went from being a speed demon and globetrotter to being a shepherd in the hills of the Holy Land.
11/16/2012, 2:45 PM

A7 Radio's "Life Lessons with Judy Simon" with Judy Simon
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Avraham Herzlich thinks the Israeli education system should include a stint as a shepherd. His own children have known how to handle a herd of goats or sheep since the tender age of 10, and Herzlich explains how it has made them into better soldiers, and ultimately, better people. In fact, many of the great leaders of Israel had been shepherds before they became leaders. Herzlich gives a succinct analysis of the skills that herding taught which created the skills needed to lead.

Born and raised in an assimilated home in Brooklyn NY, Avraham Herzlich became a dare devil and a speed devil. He even drove a Ferrari race car from NY to Miami, and then became a world traveler, spending time in Germany and in France among other places. He discovered that the lives of the wealthy were essentially empty.

He was back in his father's home when he found a thin volume which spoke about our biblical ancestors. He then decided to go to Israel. Passage on a boat was the same price as a plane, so he opted for the slower option, a choice which changed the speed with which he ran his own life. He discovered that slowing down teaches a person many things, including the greatness of G-d.

Once in Israel, Herzlich was moved to the depths of his soul by the prayers of the elderly Jews of Yemen. Upon the advice of a rabbi, he joined a class of young Yemenite children learning Hebrew with their Mori (Holy teacher from Yemen). At the advice of an Arab shepherd boy, he moved up north to the Jewish village of Kfar Zeitim, where he learned the craft of shepherding, met his wife, raised 11 children, and subsequently spent 35 years among sheep and goats.

Two weeks ago, while moving his herd of 400 goats, expert goat thieves stealthily and professionally kidnapped his goats in the middle of the night, running them by truck to the Palestinian Authority area, where the police are less likely to go. Herzlich talks about insurance, the chances of getting the goats back, his feelings towards the Arabs, and much more.

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Judy Simon is the host of the show Life Lessons and the mother of six children. After almost 20 years of teaching English and special education, Judy now serves as the Beit El Tourism Coordinator, and organizes tours of the site of Jacob's Dream in Beit El. Check out Beit El's website: and "like" the Beit El Heritage Center Facebook page: To "like" the Hebrew page: Life Lessons explores fascinating people from all walks of life and follows their stories of lessons learned along the way. The Life Lessons podcast airs every Thursday from 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Israel time on Israel National Radio.
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