Israel is My Future

Shmuel Salmoni

The past couple weeks have been incredible. Between my first Pesach in Israel, which I spent right off of Ben Yehuda Street, fascinating TRY Tiyulim, Yom HaShoah, and, of course, Sally’s amazing birthday, these past few weeks were jammed with so many things, making this whole blog thing kind of difficult to write. 

My first Pesach in Israel was an incredible experience, as both my father and my younger brother traveled overseas to visit me. This was especially exciting since it was my younger brother’s first time in Israel. I’m overjoyed that he could experience Israel as an eleven-year-old, and that I got to be the one to show him around. He boldly traveled around a breadless Israel and met almost all the members of TRY. I really feel like his time here was transformative and resulted in the kindling of a fire inside of him, hopefully leaving him with a thirst to come back here and see more. I know I’m going on for a while about my brother being here, but I really found it so inspiring that he came. Back on topic, Pesach was wonderful, and it really opened my eyes to something that I have learned to truly appreciate over the past few months: a Jewish state. 

I grew up in Virginia, where there is not a great Jewish community. This means that during the holidays, it’s always a struggle to properly follow the customs and traditions. Since I’m used to Pesach in Virginia, Pesach in Israel this year was so amazing because I felt surrounded by my Jewish culture. For instance, not even a minute after Pesach began, kosher for Pesach bread seemed to be popping up everywhere. This never happens in Virginia. I distinctly remember chomping on a kosher for Pesach pizza this year, totally amazed by what I was eating. Pesach was more for me than just pizza, however. It demonstrated how there is a Jewish community here like nowhere else. That I am living, breathing, and eating in a Jewish state.

Now I want to compare this Pesach feeling to what I felt on Yom HaShoah. On Yom HaShoah, our ICC teacher, Betzalel, took us out to the streets for the two-minute memorial siren. Betzalel, or how Ari and I sometimes call him behind his back, בשכל (translating to something about brains) must’ve had his own reasons for taking us to hear the siren, but as soon as the siren started, I came to my own conclusion for why it was so important to hear it. The siren started, and all the cars stopped. People got out of their cars and stood still, looking into the distance. I was watching all of this with amazement. I noticed that on Yom HaShoah, just like Pesach, it felt as if the entire country was in unison. At this point, I was convinced that this state was for me. Though Pesach is a holiday of freedom and celebration, and Yom HaShoah is a gloomy day of commemoration, both events together utterly convinced me that Israel is my future. 

Thank you all so much for this wonderful, life-changing experience.

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