Sunday, January 6, 2008

Why I love living in Israel

Jerusalemview, originally uploaded by Anna's musings.

Because every day feels like a page from an exciting, never-ending story, into the pages of which I have been unexpectedly transported. Just in case you are wondering whether this is some kind of temporary euphoria, you can look at my sidebar and see that it will soon be 17 years since we arrived here. Yes, we have suffered hardships; yes, we still have to face all sorts of mundane struggles like money, mortgage, studies, work and grocery shopping; and yes, we have been very near to several life-threatening situations. But I, at least, wouldn't change my life here for anything.

Some time ago, someone here commented that I "look Jewish". Reading this made me smile. If you come to Israel, very soon you'll have to give up the concept that there's such a thing as "Jewish looks". A Russian Jew doesn't look like a Yemenite Jew and an Ethiopain Jew doesn't resemble a Jew from Morocco or India. Israel is an amazing cultural blend and an outstanding historical phenomenon!

The fact that we are here is a miracle. It's against all odds. How did it happen? WHO made it happen? To me, the answer is obvious.


Federica said...

Israel is a fascinating country. I always thought that, in a way, it reminded me of the United States, for its people come from all kinds of national origins. I also find it fascinating that the Nation of Israel was able to finally settle in its Land and make desert flourish. When I read Deuteronomy, 30:4, I smile and think of the living miracle that is Israel.
Besides my hometown, Varese, in Italy, there are two places I have called "home" in my life, where I have truly felt at home. And one is Tel Aviv.

Dawn said...

What a beautiful picture! Kind of looks like Germany with all the homes really close next to each other and everything looks squished togther from a distance.

I have been enjoying all the pictures you post!

Bless you!

Andrea said...

Ack, I remember that "you look Jewish" comment, lol! I am afraid I took greater offence at that than you did :P My reaction to such remarks possibly stems from my research and reading on the Holocaust and WWII, and how Nazi propoganda included some foul pamphlets on how to "identify" Jews based on physical attributes (I don't attribute such motives to your commenter, obviously, but that's the memory sprang up in MY heart, so I am afraid I reacted poorly!)

I am so grateful for your graciousness about it, it's been a real lesson for me; reading your post now I am actually able to see the humour in it, especially considering my handful of Jewish friends and realising that even amongst such a comparatively small number of people, I can't think of a single unifying descriptor amongst them! (well, all right, they have eyes, noses, etc.!)

Do you mind me asking very much if you are a Sephardic, Ashkenazic or Mizrahi Jew? I can't recall if you mentioned it, and of course it's not important in one sense of the word, but there, that's my idle curiosity pricking at me again :P I understand from my friends that certain customs vary amongst each ethnic group (I think the naming of a child after a living relative was one distinction that separates them, isn't it?) so that's mainly where the question comes from, just for clarification . . . if you don't feel like answering, feel free to tell me so! ;)

Finally, your love for where you live is just beautiful. Your passion for your home shines through so clearly, and I think that if everybody could be so truly content with where they live, there might be a lot less conflict over who owns what land and who can use it! ;)

Rebekah S. said...

Amen. Yes, it's quite obvious! :) Your country sure is beautiful and has such rich history!

College Gal said...

Our God is truly and amazing creator, and artist. wow.

Anonymous said...

God holds Israel in a precious way. I love seeing it through your lens - there's such heart behind each photograph. In the photo you chose for this post, that's a windmill, right? Now that's something I wouldn't have thought would make its place in Israel.

Can you share about the climate at this time of year? Thank you in advance.

Bless you dearly...

Anonymous said...

Obvious to me, also. Scripture is full of verses that predict this very thing: the return of the Jews to their homeland. It really is an awesome thing!


Jennifer said...

Lovely post, Anna! It's funny that you mention the "looking Jewish" thing. I used to think that there was a certain look until I took a class on the Holocaust with a Jewish professor. He made it clear that there wasn't a "Jewish look", as we studied about Jews living all over the world. I've found myself correcting others everytime they make a comment about someone looking Jewish. :-) Thanks also for sharing your lovely thoughts about living in Israel! I find it fascinating!

Anna S said...


I'm Ashkenazi, and I don't mind you asking this at all. :) Then again, I pray and do various customs according to Sephardi tradition, due to lack of tradition in my family and... well, it's a long story. :)


It's about 15 degrees here right now, warm, sunny... lovely weather ;)

Mrs. June Fuentes said...

Love the beautiful pictures!

Jacki said...

Thank you so much for sharing the beautiful pictures of your home country. Here in the US we usually only hear about the violence happening there, but you show such a different, refreshing side of it.

God Bless....

deb said...

My hubby's mother was a Ashkenazi also? She is from Austria and her entire family escaped from the Holocaust in 1939 when Hitler invaded. She was a very young infant at the time.

My hubby would love to live in Israel or at least visit.

Strangely enough, a older Jewish man once told my hubby that he looked Jewish.

Anonymous said...

Haha, Deb, you will find that is not all that uncommon.

My boyfriend's Mother has a very Jewish look, and she is always joking about it (she is Jewish), and my boyfriend has been told he looks Jewish many times too. It is only offensive if it comes from a non-jew. I don't know, at least with the people I know.

My aunt is taking my cousins to Tel Aviv this Spring. Smart little guys, still in grade school, and already speak English, French, German, and Hebrew! I'm looking forward to seeing the pics when they get back.


Jimena said...

I have to chuckle a bit at Deb's last comment about her husband, because my husband get's it all the time. The first time he came to visit me in Holland our nosy neighbor commented on how he looked like a Rabbi. We have been to different places when all of a sudden people will start talking about Jews while looking at him the whole time and he will say "Yes, I'm a Jew, I don't try to hide it." Or when some people hear that he is a Jew they'll say "Yes, I thought he looked like a Jew." Just by looking at his family you can see the many physical differences, but here in Europe it is a lie that still lingers on... He thinks it's his curly hair and beard... I think he's lovely :)

Catherine R. said...

I just wanted to comment that it's nice to learn about Israel from your blog. Unfortunately I have to admit that what I see on the news here in America makes me think of Israel as a place where constant violence against innocent people takes place. You depict it as a lovely place with many peaceful looking photos. I wonder, where you born in the US? Why did you (and your mom I assume) move to Israel in the first place? Just wondering. Have a blessed day. : )

Anna S said...


Don't believe everything you see on TV. :)

We were born in the USSR. We're Jewish, so we moved to Israel when the iron curtain was open.