This week (Finally!) the Israeli government is expected to announce an end to restrictions on tourism to Israel. I haven’t been in Israel in over two years, the longest period in my adult life. I cant wait to visit Israel very soon.
At the essence of my being is being Jewish, being a Zionist. Not being in Israel feels like a part of me is missing. Simply cannot wait for the special feeling of being in Israel.
In no particular order, here are the many reasons I miss Israel:
I simply miss being in a Jewish country. All of it – hearing Hebrew, seeing the Israeli flag – the blue and white Jewish star which is omnipresent. So bold, so clear. So present. So real. So special.
I miss schwarma with humus on a lafa bread with those great pickles. Miss all those little dishes they bring you before the main meal. Miss the hot, crunchy bread. Miss the pictures of Sephardi Rabbis in those stores with blasting music. (Did I mention how much I miss those pickles)?
Miss those makolets with sunflower seeds and all those other dishes to nibble on.
Miss Fridays on Shenkin street in Tel Aviv watching people. Miss walking the shuk with vendors screaming out prices for freshly squeezed juices. Miss the amusing street performers there on stilts, or clowns with street theatre.
Miss driving to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv and ascending those hills.
Miss praying at the Western Wall. Seeing the lions of Judah, and those elderly women who give out red strings for charity as you descend down the steps and see the Kotel. Miss kissing the wall and praying for good things and thanking G-d for all we have. Miss putting on tefillin with Chabad there and then walking away from the kotel looking back at it.
Miss going to the Cardo and seeing Judaica. Miss seeing those birthright tours with fresh faced youngsters, remembering myself on group tours in my Betar days.
Miss visiting the Jabotinsky institute and Begin Center and the Etzel museum and remembering the heroism of the many Jabotinsky followers who helped form the state of Israel.
Miss those Breslov Chasidim who stop traffic singing Rabbi Nachman from Uman…. Rabbi Nachman from Uman. Smiling, thinking of it.
Miss Turkish coffee with the great Israeli breakfast. Bourekas, fresh eggs, those bagels or bread. Wow.
How I miss Israeli music. How I would love to go to an Omer Adam concert and see dancing Israelis, proud Israelis.
How I miss seeing young Israelis in IDF uniforms. The Jewish army, Jews with guns. What a beautiful sight.
Miss communicating in my far from perfect Hebrew and learning new Israeli slang.
Miss my Israeli friends and visiting their homes.
Miss my day trip to the Dead Sea I make every time I am there and no matter what time I go it's too hot, my feet burn and then going to the spas and cold pools afterwards.
Miss visiting Hebron – the toughest Jewish neighborhood in the world, and the Tomb of the Patriarchs where our patriarchs and their wives were buried.
Miss visiting the North of Israel and seeing the border of Lebanon.
Miss just the day to day life of how normal life is in Israel. So much different than how the media portrays life. No, people don’t think about terrorism 24/7 – they think about their families, their businesses.
Miss everyone saying Shabbat Shalom and how the country comes to such a slow pace on Friday afternoons.
Miss the great city of Tel Aviv, truly one of the most electric cities in the world. Miss riding those scooters, miss the electric energy of Tel Aviv where there is truly always something to do.
Miss the regularity of Jewish things everywhere – seeing religious Jews everywhere, seeing mezuzahs on every door, the normality of seeing Jewish street names.
Miss the Israeli attitude of arguing and chutzpah (although I miss it a lot more from NYC than I do when there).
Miss seeing gorgeous Israeli women. Yes, these are Jews!
Miss the diversity of Jews – the difference from the Jews in America. Jews from all over the world, so different in their thought processes, being and essence from American jews.
Miss feeling in touch with what Israel really is – the songs (yes, I know the controversy around Omer Adam’s “Kakdila”), the movies, the characters on TV shows, the new slang, the European music which we don’t hear in the United States.
So many things I miss about Israel. I just miss Israel and can't wait to visit.
(And yes, I wish I lived there, but my business does not allow that, so I help as much as I can from overseas)