Are you “Chai” on Israel?

Ever get a card on a simcha (a happy occasion like Bar/Bat Mitzvah or wedding) with a check in it for say, 144$ (a multiple of 18)? Or ever plant a tree with JNF for 18$? As Passover is right around the corner, did you know 18 minutes is the maximum time matzah is to be cooked until it becomes unkosher? Without too much detail, once the dough hits 18 minutes, it begins to rise. 18 is also the date in the Hebrew month of Iyar when Lag B’omer occurs. We get this number 18 from the numerical value of the Hebrew word for life, “חי” or “Chai.”  The ח or “chet” is the 8th letter in the Hebrew alphabet and is worth 8 and the “י” or “yud” is the 10th letter and is worth 10, hence the connection between Judaism, life and the number 18.

There are a few more interesting points on the number 18 which make it even more significant in Judaism. Firstly, 18 is the age when mandatory IDF service begins for Israelis. Secondly, the Talmud tells us that 18 is the right age to get married (really!) by saying “Ben shmonah esre l’chupa” or “at 18 years old to the Chupah”. And lastly, in the 18th verse of the Torah, God separates light from darkness…pretty earth shattering!!!

In the Spirit of the number 18 and life, here’s a list of 18 reasons to get CHAI on ISRAEL; to have Israel as part of our Jewish lives. Here it goes, in no particular order…except for #1!

18. SO MANY ACTIVITIES: By starting in Northern Israel and driving South, you can go skiing, skating, go to the beach, drive through sand dunes, go snorkeling and hit the clubs, all in the same day.

Snorkeling in Eilat

17. GIMME CULTURE: You name it, Israel’s probably got it; Jews, Muslims, Christians, Druze, Bedouins and more. With people coming from around 130 different countries to create a Holy melting pot, Israel’s definitely got diversity.

16. ARTSY FARTSY: From ancient to modern, Israel is flowing with art, design, architecture, poetry, music, theatre, cinema, television, graffiti, tattooing, fashion and expression. Yehuda Amichai is a favorite poet and Shlomo Artzi, a favorite musician.

15. GET IN MY BELLY: Baklava, laffa, jahnoun, hummus, kubbe, spices, borscht, bourekas, Aroma, fresh Limonana… hungry yet?


14. NO NEED TO FEEL INSECURE: The Israeli Defense Force is not only in existence to combat immediate threats; it is also their task of defending humanity and Jews worldwide. Check out what Israeli did recently to help in Haiti, India, and Colombia.

13. SPIRITUAL WIFI: Looking to connect to your inner self? Israel has so many unlocked networks for you to tap into the spiritual realm, whether it’s Torah, meditation, or some kind of Israeli Hinduism… you don’t even need a password. If a password is needed, it might be Rabbi Nachman.

12. JUSTICE NOW: Looking for a cause; left or right, you can find your springboard for social action in Israel. Save A Child’s Heart, Shimon Peres Center for Peace, Arava Institute… There is even an organization called CHAI “Concern for Helping Animals in Israel.”

11. POLITICS, OH POLITICS: Wanna vent? Go yell at the Knesset…seriously.

10. DAMN GIRL, DAMN BOY: Bikinis and speedos in Tel-Aviv, skirts and shtreimels in Jerusalem, gay rights and Dana International. Express your sex in Israel.

9. COME ON HOME: From Birthright to the Law of Return, Israel wants you there.

8. GREENERY AND H20: Israel is making a desert disappear with no water to do so. HOW THE? And you can’t forget the 2 button flusher.

7. DON’T FORGET YOUR DIGITAL CAMERA: There are so many incredible sites in Israel. The Dead Sea, 423 metres (1,388 ft) below sea level and the lowest elevation on the Earth’s surface on dry land, Makhtesh Ramon Crater, Bahai Gardens, the Kotel, Banyas, Caesarea, Rosh Hanikra… I’m losing my mind thinking about the unique beauty of Israel.

Beautiful Behai Gardens in Haifa

6. FAMILY: Suddenly in Israel 4th cousins become 1st cousins, doors are always opened and the love is around. Israel brings Jews together in times of happiness and sadness, and it has been so for thousands of year.

5. WHO DO YOU GO FOR: Incredible sports fans with not-so-incredible teams.

4. GETTING AROUND: Hitching a ride from a complete stranger from the Negev to the Central Station in Tel-Aviv. Ever been to Mount Arbel? If you have you’ll know how to get to the Prime Minister’s Office.

3. EVERCHANGING: Every year something different or new pops up in Israel… question is was it there before?

2. MAD SCIENCE: Advancements in medical, scientific and technological fields are abundant in Israel and they are usually innovations that benefit the whole world; Breast Cancer Research and Computer Processor Chips to name a few.

1. AM ISRAEL CHAI – עם ישראל חי

This summer I recommend falling in love with Israel for the first time or for the 100th time. Contact me to find out ways you can get CHAI on Israel and back in the Holy Land!

Am Israel Chai!


Posted on March 25, 2011, in Arts and Culture, Birthright, Community, Feel-good, Food, Israel, Music, Travel. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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