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13 Things I Love about Israel

Happy Birthday Israel! I wish I were there celebrating with you. I will eat some humus to celebrate today.

Inspired by Ima on the Bima’s list of 13 things she loves about Israel and in honor of Israel’s 62nd birthday today, I offer my own list of 13 things I love about Israel:

  1. Jerusalem is golden, Nachalot neighborhoods are richly diverse, and the city makes my soul sing.
  2. My two nieces made aliyah and are doing their part to strengthen the Jewish state.
  3. My children love Israel almost as much as I do, and cannot wait to get back again and again.
  4. I have made Aliyat HaNefesh (spiritual ascent – been to Israel) 9 times and still cannot get enough of her.
  5. Her language, Hebrew, flows somewhat fluently from my mouth.
  6. The Galilee is green, gorgeous, spacious and spectacular.
  7. You can walk on stone pathways that our Biblical ancestors actually walked on and up stairs that our ancestors actually climbed. History comes alive.
  8. Ain Avdat a Negev wadi, makes for a fun-filled, rock-climbing, water-discovering hike.
  9. Machane Yehuda on Friday afternoon is a a colorful, boisterous, deliciously smelly, pluralistic intersection of Israelis of all flavors and fruits and vegetables of all kinds. I love standing in the middle of it right then.
  10. Newness abounds: Tel Aviv, once lowest on my list of places to visit, now tops my list as a cultural pilgrimage site.
  11. Kehillat Mevasseret Zion, a Progressive synagogue in Mevasseret Zion, a Jerusalem suburb, is a virbrant beautiful community with an energetic, inspiring Rabbi Maya Leibovitch.
  12. The artists colony in Tzefat, filled with spiritual seekers and creative wonders, offers voice and visual to religious murmurings after a day spent touring the mystical sites.
  13. And the fact that this list can go on and on and on…

What are your 13 favorite things that you love about Israel? Do share!

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