Rabbi Ari (right) with her brother Jason & sister-in-law Galit
Rabbi Ari interviews her Israeli brother, Jason, and sister-in-law, Galit.
When did you make aliyah?
(Literally this words means â€śto go upâ€ť and is used for someone who moves to Israel and connotes ascending in spiritual ways. The word is also used for being called up to the Torah during a worship service.)
Jason: I moved to Israel after attending a Birthright trip at the end of December 2007.
Why did you move to Israel?
Jason: Zionism. A belief that the land and people are part of me.
Galit adds that she felt a little lost and confused in America and she was looking for a different life, and Israel was calling her back.
Whatâ€™s the most challenging part of living in Israel?
How expensive it is. Everything costs more than in Americaâ€”cars, rent, gas. Itâ€™s hard to finish the month with any money in your pocket even if you have a good job.
Do you think about politics all the time?
We think about politics daily: more than when we were in America. And there was just an election. We think about it more during war time.
Do you know any interfaith couples? Is it common? And whatâ€™s it like for these couples in Israel?
We do have one friend who married a Christian woman from Australia. Itâ€™s not very common (at least in our circle of friends) and it can be difficult for them here. A spouse who is not Jewish may have fewer rights here, especially if they did not move here as a citizen. Itâ€™s important for interfaith couples to come to Israel and engage. Change can come.
Tell me about your experience living in Israel
Itâ€™s a fantastic place to live. There is plenty of work in all areas. Great medical care for no extra money beyond the taxes we pay. The people are great. We feel secure here and free. Itâ€™s a community; people know us and there is less anonymity. We donâ€™t hear about people getting mugged on a bus, for instance. It must happen, but itâ€™s not common.
What about this little known (in America) holiday coming up called Tu Bâ€™Av which begins the night of Friday, July 31?
The [Hebrew] word â€śTuâ€ť refers to the Hebrew letters Tet and Vuv. Each Hebrew letter represents a number and these letters add up to the number 15. This is the Hebrew month of Av. Thus, this holiday is on the 15th ofÂ AvÂ (if you donâ€™t have a Jewish calendar in your house, it could be a great thing to get. Itâ€™s a wonderful way to experience the many holidays and to get a sense of â€śJewish timeâ€ť).
This is a mysterious day on the Jewish calendar. TheÂ TalmudÂ tells us that many years ago the â€śdaughters of JerusalemÂ would go dance in the vineyardsâ€ť on the 15th of Av, and â€śwhoever did not have a wife would go thereâ€ť to find himself a bride. Thus, it has become a Jewish love day.
Rabbi Ari: My brother and Galit said that Tu Bâ€™Av reminds them of Valentineâ€™s Day in Israel. It has become commercialized. The stores sell heart-themed candy and gifts and people buy flowers for their loved ones. Couples dedicate songs to each other on the radio.
My brother and Galit #ChooseLove every day by living in Israel. They are far from most people in their family, and while in some ways living in America may be easier, their love for the vibe of the country and the life they have created sustains them.
How will you #ChooseLove on Tu Bâ€™Av this year?