15 Kislev 5781 / Tuesday, December 01, 2020 | Torah Reading: Vayishlach
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Circumventing 5 Cs    

Circumventing 5 Cs

What unites left and right, religious and secular is a deep love of the Land. Not the political land but being outside and breathing in the air of Israel…


We all want to live right by Hashem. It's ideal, but it's not easy. Hashem has mercy, patience, and compassion. Even if we are afraid to walk into a store room filled with diamonds, and the King isn't offended by this – we will still feel terrible the moment the door closes and our opportunity for immense wealth is gone.


After living here for almost 15 years, I have seen the reasons why most of us don't return home. I call them the five Cs. They are what holds a Jew back in exile. You would be surprised to learn what opportunity lies beyond these obstacles.


City. It is human nature to see things through the lenses of our own life. We relate to other people and places by how they are most familiar to us. I grew up on Long Island, went to school in Washington, worked in Manhattan, and before returning home, lived in Queens.


They are all cities. Every trip I took as a tourist would be focused on Tel Aviv, Jerusalem, and the occasional Hebron – other cities. I would marvel about the Kosher McDonalds and stand in awe of the falafel stand where I thought a hot dog vendor would be.


Israel is an outdoor country. The immense personal value of the Land lies in its parks, forests, seas, nature reserves, and any type of climate you like. It also rests in the spiritual places like ancient villages which host Synagogues 2,000 years old, Talmudic villages, and graves of holy Sages.


What unites left and right, religious and secular is a deep love of the Land. Not the political land but being outside and breathing in the air of Israel. We are commanded to "Rise, walk in the land, to its length and to its breadth, for I will give it to you." (Genesis 13:17). Everyone who hikes the Land becomes high on its beauty.


These are emotional and spiritual heights you can only feel here. It is something that goes beyond the life of a city-dweller and enables you to take a huge journey into unknown areas of this world and your own spirit.


Conflict. When we think Israel, the conflict quickly comes to mind. Would you be surprised to know that 99% of the time, people living here don't think about it? Did you know that most Jews and Arabs in Israel get along?


Okay, we don't hold hands and sing songs but every day millions of Jews and Arabs in Israel interact in business, education, even simply in passing and simply smile.


Asking about Arabs is like asking about Europeans. It's a very general concept. The same way there are Germans, French, and Dutch, there are city Arabs, Arabs who live in the Galilee, Druze, Bedouin, and small farmers. These are all friendly groups.


While there are Arabs in Wadi Ara, Palestinians, and Gazans, there are enough friendlies that we can focus our lives on what they focus on – living. Learning. Taking care of our children.  


We stress a lot less about politics than people do in Europe and the United States. Most people who move here also spend less time on political issues.


Career. This is a huge C. Most people think you have to take a huge and permanent step down from whatever you are doing in order to come here.


Not anymore.


You can continue your career in Israel. You can get a professional job in hi-tech here and make a good living. You can start your own company and work your way up. You can learn a new skill like computer programming, marketing, sales, tourism, and find work.


There are 10,000 companies in Israel who need people to break into the $27 trillion English speaking economy, and the $17 trillion economy of people who conduct business in English when dealing with non-nationals (read: China, India, Japan, Korea).


We want you! We will pay nicely for you to talk to these people in the language you know best.


You can freelance, work for an American company by remote, split your time from the office to working at home.


Yes. Doing a job to the best of your ability expands the Israeli economy, and the Land's ability to support all of her inhabitants. Working in Israel is a part of the mitzvah to settle the Land.


Why write a check to Israel when Israel can write a check to you?


Christmas. Whether you are religious or not, you will feel the Jewishness of Israel seep into the pores of your skin and it will feel great. For a Jew, Israel is the one place on earth where you can truly feel comfortable inside your own flesh.


It's not the big things that make you feel this way. It's the countless small experiences that pleasantly remind who where you are. We make the mistake of seeing Israel through American eyes – where there must be a separation between the holy and the mundane, as if anything spiritual must be lock away in some monastery.


Here, no such separation exists. Like Judaism, which requires holiness in every physical action you take, Israel invites our faith to touch all areas of our society.


A secular CEO of a company with a single religious Jew who will only allow Kosher food at all functions.


Everybody in the country knows what Sukkot, Shavuot, and Lag B'Omer are.


Shabbat is a national holiday – every week.


We eat jelly doughnuts for Chanukah and the Prime Minister and top IDF Generals sing Ma'oz Tzur.


Yearend bonuses are given out during Rosh Hashanah which is when the annual company party is.


One of the top-rated shows in Israel aired a 2-part episode about planning for Pesach.


Religious or not, you will feel very at home here on a very deep and sincere level.


Crembo. A crembo is a classic Israel snack. It is made with eggs, sugar, chocolate, and a cookie. Why such a simple snack? It was first developed in the 1950s while food was being rationed.


This is how the world sees us: like a Crembo. Sweet and simple but still an underdeveloped backwater!


Despite being a fully developed country with the greatest hi-tech ecosystem on earth, I still have people ask me, "Do you have malls in Israel?" or "I heard it's raining over there. Remember to get your pots out and catch the water."


There is an ongoing disconnect between reading about hi-tech Israel and internalizing how it has raised the quality of life for the people who live here.  


We have every brand you can imagine. Fox, Castro, Android, iPhone, there is even a branch of Jaguar cars in Israel. We have every type of technology, especially since most of it is developed here. Hungry? We've got Pizza Hut, McDonalds, even M&Ms and Twix Bars. You name it, it's here.


But there's C we're still missing in Israel – our cherished brothers and sisters who are still abroad.

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