May 12, 2016

You're invited...

Yesterday we mourned, united. Today we celebrate our independence, united.  We made the switch from Memorial Day to Independence Day last night as the shofar blasted in synagogue and people burst into dance and song:
"Ani ma'amin b'emunah shleimah beviat haMashiach, v'af al pi sheyitmameiha, im kol zeh achakeh lo b'chol yom sheyavo."

"I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah, and though he may tarry, nevertheless I await his coming every day."

People wished each other 'chag sameach,' happy holiday, and then took to the festivities across the country. There were concerts, fireworks, BBQs and dancing in all towns across the country. It was a night dedicated to family fun with small children out late, dancing on their parents' shoulders.  

This love and unity, fun and freedom brought to mind the recently released InterNations Family Life Index, a survey listing the best places for families to live in the world. Of the 41 countries listed, Israel came in fourth.

Yes, teeny, war-torn, demonized Israel with its huge security budget and enemies on all sides was voted as the fourth best country to have a family. The wealthy, well-established, socialized countries of Austria, Finland, Sweden took the first three places.

This survey is made for people looking to relocate countries by analysing four categories:

Availability of childcare and education
Cost of childcare and education
Quality of education
Family well-being

But what about wealthy, educated, civilized US and Britain? Well, the US came in 25th place, while the UK scored 22nd place due to its poor availability of childcare and expensive education.

Israel’s education is not expensive and it may not be the best (the army seems to be the true educator in Israel), but as for lifestyle and family wellbeing, there really is no other place to be. Australia and Austria were the only countries to outrank Israel in the category of family wellbeing. 

And what about the US and the UK in the area of family wellbeing? They did not fare so well; the UK ranked 21 out of 41 while the US ranked 16 (Keep in mins that Saudi Arabia came in last, ranking 41).

Shofar and flag.
We cry and we laugh. We mourn and then we get up and dance. Life here in Israel is fuller than in any other place I've been. If people cannot feel this, then let the results of this study speak out. But then why are the aliyah numbers from Britain and North America not higher?

We encourage all to come home and live in this miraculous country; a place where kids can dig their toes in warm sand by a sparkling sea and dance atop your shoulders waving flags, Jewish and free.

You're all invited to join the party. Happy 68th Birthday Israel. 

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