We're Moving

No, not back to America. Sorry to disappoint some of you. We aren't going far actually. Not nearly as far as our last move. 

When we moved to Givat Shmuel we agreed to give it a year to see if we liked it and we'd reevaluate towards the end of the year and start looking elsewhere if we weren't happy. We couldn't have found a better city. In the last 10 months we've made an incredible number of incredible friends. Our kids have found their place in the school system and made friends of their own. Rivkah and I have both found jobs which we love, and which love us back.

So 10 months in, we've made our decision. We are going to stick around here for a while. And we've found a home to suit us for a long time to come. It's a four bedroom home with room for a guest room, our library, and plenty of space for us to host guests from here and abroad for visits, parties, game nights and everything in between. 

We've found our home. We hope you will come and visit. Our doors are ever open to you. 


The Reflection Before The Party

Thursday is Independence Day. You can feel it in the air already that everyone is preparing to have a great day of fun. Some are going to the beach. Some are traveling to family and friends. Pretty much everyone is going to have a barbecue. But first...first we will have a day of solemn reflection.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. When I lived in the United States, Memorial Day usually was a time to reflect on my grandfather who passed away from cancer which came as a result of radiation poisoning in the Navy. I would think of the men and women who served and fell in battle in Iraq and Afghanistan while serving our nation.

On Thursday the state of Israel will turn 67 years old. However there are 67 people who will not be taking part in the celebration. These are the 67 soldiers who fell in battle while protecting me and my family as rockets fell from the skies and air raid sirens wailed at all times of day and night. This year I will be remembering those young soldiers who fought to protect MY life. The lives of my family members. Of my friends here in the land of Israel.

I didn't know any of these people personally, but I'm not kidding myself. A friend of mine was in Gaza last summer and the soldier next to him was critically wounded. Move a few feet over and a friend of mine could have lost his life.

In her blog post earlier today, my friend Romi wrote about her experience moving to Israel during the Intifada in 2001. She felt, as I do, that it wasn't even a question. Yes our enemies are right here, in our faces. Yes things can get hot and scary and dangerous. But who am I to sit on the sidelines and watch? I believe with all my heart that Israel has a right to continue to exist as a Jewish state. What better way to make that statement than to raise my children as Jews who keep, respect, and understand Torah values, here in the Jewish state of Israel?

On Thursday I can party. Tomorrow, I'll remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom.

May HaShem console all those who are mourning the loss of family and friends. I simply cannot imagine the pain.


As the Siren Sounds

I walk into a room at work with the intent of finding out the progress of a project from one of my developers. I barely have the words out of my mouth when everyone in the room stands and closes their eyes.

In the distance, the siren winds up.

The siren blares.

It keeps going, loud and clear. 10 seconds...20...30...

60 seconds later the siren winds down.

The siren ends.

I wipe my eyes.

The conversation continues.


When I moved to Israel last summer, I was very quickly introduced to the sirens. I was in the parking lot at the grocery store. I didn't know what I was hearing. Someone shouted at me to run for cover. It was followed by a distant explosion. Over the course of the next month I was treated to many more such experiences...

At home in the middle of the day, we'd scoop the kids up and head to the stairwell to wait for the last explosion.

In the park, we threw the kids into the stroller and ran for the nearest building, seeking cover with other trembling parents and other scared and crying children.

In the middle of the night, we woke the kids up and again ran to the stairwell, hoping the kids would go back to sleep nicely once the coast was clear.

So now, even though I was totally prepared for the coming siren, it still caught me off guard. This was the first time I just stood and listened. Today the siren was sounded to remember the victims of the Holocaust. Right now there is a survivor speaking to my coworkers about his experiences. The reason I cried was not out of sadness. While the siren was blaring I found myself smiling. I was thinking about how lucky I am to live in a country that is so vibrant, thriving, successful; a country which is so small and yet is recognized as a global leader in innovation, technology, ethics, military. Israel is tiny. Her population is a drop in the bucket compared to so many other countries. And yet she is so large. In the words of Teddy Roosevelt, "speak softly, and carry a big stick." Well, I can't honestly say I've ever heard an Israeli speak softly, but Israel carries a big stick.

Next week is Israeli Independence Day. So much has happened in the last 67 years and it is amazing to look back and see how far this country has come. Today, we remember those who fell at the hands of Hitler and the Nazi's, but next week we will celebrate those men, women and children who escaped his evil, came to Israel, and laid the foundation for the country I live in today. As the song from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang goes, "Up from the ashes grow the roses of success." This is quite literal. From the ashes of Nazi Europe, to the successful and thriving country we have today.

For now, the sound of the siren still reminds us of fear. I hope to be blessed enough to see a day when our enemies tremble at the sound of the sirens, as we walk in peace and harmony.

Never forget.