Jack Molad

Israel & The Apartment Syndrome


Living for many years in the States, our lives were centered around the house, particularly indoors, most of the time. We lived in a large home with spacious rooms, a large kitchen, family room with a pool table and library, and two fireplaces. Outside we had large front and back yards, a two-car garage, an area to shoot baskets, as well as an outdoor deck with a jacuzzi.

I am not trying to impress anyone, as many people live that way, and much nicer. It was indoor, suburban living. We didn’t even have sidewalks in our neighborhood. The assumption was that you either enjoyed the outdoors in your own, private, fenced backyard or you got in your car to drive someplace.  Looking out my front window, I occasionally saw people walking their dogs or going for a jog, but I seldom met any neighbors or developed friendships in our neighborhood.

Coming back home, where I now live in Jerusalem, I got back into the Israeli living habits. Since most Israelis live in relatively small apartments, their lifestyle is mainly outdoors – get out of the apartment any time, all the time. The streets are busy at all times and cafes and restaurants are packed from morning through the late hours of the night. It is quite the contrast to the suburban U.S. cities. On holidays and the occasional day off, Israel’s parks fill with families finding any available spot to picnic. With Israel’s shortage of roadways and parking spots, cars line up to brace traffic and find creative solutions to park.

Shopping is another area which differs greatly between Israel and the US. Most countries enjoy a full two-day weekend, providing plenty of time to shop. As we know, Israelis do not enjoy the normal two-day weekend. Rather, Fridays resemble a race against the clock to buy all the various items needed for Shabbat before stores close at midday. Saturday (Shabbat) of course is “dark”, leaving very limited shopping or leisure time available for most Israelis.

Life in Israel is simply different. It is a small country and it is crowded. That in turn produces a society which encourages pushing rather than patience.

Driving in Israel reflects its way of life. Drivers are all too eager to use their horn the moment a light turns green or to announce their esteemed presence.

Now, when all is said and done, there is no place I’d rather be than Israel. Through all the difficulties, there is real meaning to our lives, which I have not seen anywhere else. We are actively giving a rebirth to the land of our fathers, providing a homeland to all Jews, and contributing to the world at large. These things are worth more than any material comforts, making life in Israel priceless.

Jack Molad

About the Author
Jack Molad was born in Tel Aviv in 1930 during the British Mandate period and fought with the Haganah. Jack set out for the United States to spread Israeli tradition to Jews in the US. He achieved a masters degree at Saint Louis University and established Hebrew programs for traditional Jewish youth in Saint Louis, Omaha, and Dallas. Jack also founded and led Teen Tours, a summer program in Israel for traditional Jewish teens to experience Israel. Jack returned to Jerusalem in 2021, where he resides with many of his children and grandchildren.
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