Israel is the only country in the world with a Jewish majority culture. To be a Jew in Israel during a religious or national holiday is an awesome experience. I remember vividly my first Purim in Israel many years ago when I noticed that the bus driver was wearing a Purim costume and I remember thinking, “wow, even the bus drivers are Jewish!”   Growing up in Western countries I keenly felt my minority status during the Christian holidays, specifically at the end of the year. It is still strange to be in a country where the 25th of December is just another day. Even after all of these years I am still in awe at the success of the Zionist enterprise, “The hope of two thousand years to be a free people in our own land.”

You know you are in Israel when…

  • When one lands in Israel with ELAL and people on the plane clap.
  • They play the Arik Einstein song, “How good that you have come home.”
  • The captain says “Chag Sameach!”
  • People still literally kiss the ground out of gratitude.
  • There is Passover music on the radio.
  • People show their gratitude by driving to IDF checkpoints and giving treats to those defending our state during the festival of freedom.
  • Many families and Zionist youth movement members hike to Masada and other historically important sites and places of natural beauty during the religious holidays.
  • There are Seder nights in both religious and secular homes and Kibbutzim, as the nation celebrates this national/religious holiday.
  • The Western Wall on Mondays and Thursdays is a seething mass of Jews of all denominations celebrating Bnei Mitzvah.
  • The daily newspapers have the secular and Hebrew dates with the correct day of the Holiday for that day.
  • There is Passover food everywhere, malls, work, train/bus stations…everywhere!
  • With all of the many issues Israel is wrestling and grappling with, ranging from security to social to environmental, when one takes a step back, one realises that we can justifiably be proud of having accomplished so much. From reviving our land, our language and ability to be in charge of our own destiny, we really can state that with the help of hard work, gritty determination and belief in our right to be in this land, instead of mumbling, as Jews did for generations, “Next year in Jerusalem” we can declare with pride, “This year in Jerusalem!”

    tuv taglit

    Hiking in our land.  Photo: © 2016, T. Book