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Israel – why it’s home from home for SA youth: Bnei Akiva

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There’s nowhere quite like the land of Israel. The air there is different – not just in the way that it’s thick and humid in summer and biting and cold in winter. When you step onto Israeli soil, you’re surrounded by spirituality. It’s impossible to feel anything other than hope and awe when the very paths you walk speak of our deep Jewish history, echoing the footsteps of our forefathers and foremothers, and carrying the legacy of our European ancestors after the Holocaust. The Jerusalem stones practically buzz with the sound of prayer, and the aromas of spicy Israeli food permeates the streets of the many cities, yishuvim, and moshavim.

In Israel, Jews are able to live an authentically Jewish life. Surrounded by kosher food, by shuls, and an abundance of Jewish tradition, there’s truly no easier place to be a Jew. It’s because of this that Israel resonates so much with us. Home is a space of comfort, familiarity, warmth, welcoming, and these are only a few of the words one conjures up when imagining Israeli life. Is there anything more exciting than seeing street signs with Hebrew, Arabic, and English lettering? Is there anything as beautiful as walking Israeli streets, seeing Shabbat candles in the windows, beautiful Mezuzahs on doorposts, and hearing little children with kippot singing the tunes of zemirot?

Israel is embedded within our souls as Jews, and at Bnei Akiva, it’s an integral part of our Jewish identity. Our past, present, and future all reside within the historical framework of eretz Yisrael – the land being as much a spiritual home as it is a physical one. It’s because of this that Israel is so important to us. Israel therefore remains – and will forever remain – a pillar of our movement and of the Jewish people as a whole.

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