Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to take a couple of minutes and reflect on some of the things we are thankful for – above and beyond just getting to live in our Homeland!
- Turkey: Did you know that Israelis are the highest per capita turkey-eaters in the world? BUT if you want Turkey for Thanksgiving day you need to special-order the bird in advance.
- Our Soldiers: They bravely give their time to make our lives safer. Whether out on patrol, guarding in the rain, packing parachutes, visiting the sick in the hospital, or just watching the skies, our soldiers make sure that we can live our dreams.
- Rain: We pray for it to come, we bless the first rain and then complain when it rains again. We talk about it to no end (is the Kinneret up or down??), but we never take it for granted. Rain in Israel is a sacred thing. It is a barometer of our health and although it disrupts our schedules and soaks our socks, we are mostly positive about the downpour.
- Diversity: People from all over the world get to call Israel their home. We are surrounded by people of every color and denomination. Someone once asked me if I live in a “mixed community” and I wasn’t sure how to answer. My community is made up of Ashkenazim, Sephardim, Arabs, Christians, old people, young people, Europeans, Africans, and people of all shapes and sizes!
- Snow: If you thought Israelis loved rain, then snow is the icing on the cake. Just a rumor of snow in Jerusalem will melt the heart of the hardest Israeli, cause panic at the supermarkets, and get school cancelled! There is a refreshing feeling seeing a blanket of snow, reminding us Olim a bit of the winters of our pasts, but also making us more appreciative of the 8 months of super sunny and stable warmth we are thankful to get each year.
- Our Streets: The streets of this country bear the names of our leaders and teachers, our prophets and streams, the characters from our bible and the countries that voted for partition. We get to literally walk in the footsteps of our ancestors and our stories will be part of our nation’s legacy.
- Chanukah: A pleasant reminder that it is safe to go to the mall and not be overstimulated by Santas and jingle bells – you’ll just be faced with Israelis and their opinions about sufganiyot (I don’t recommend the halva kind). Chanukah also reminds us of this quote from David Ben Gurion, “In Israel, in order to be a realist you must believe in miracles.” We have the honor of lighting our candles or oil lamps and saying, “A great miracle happened HERE,” and celebrating that we are here now, thriving.