Talking about Israel

Talking about Israel

I usually go to Israel in the summer, hoping to bring back some new and exciting experience to share at the Temple Emanuel religious school. This summer, my Israel experience came my way right in my living room! My brother-in-law Ariel Yacobi and his wife Limor came from Israel, combining business with some sightseeing. They traveled around during the week and stayed with us on Shabbatot. Israel and the war were the topics of conversation most of the time.

It was the last day of their three-week visit in the States and we were sharing some final thoughts. Ariel mentioned that early on, he thought about living in the States but then he met Limor and remained in Israel.

He described "A Life in Israel" in the puzzling, poetic Hebrew phrases presented below. I pursued him with questions. What did he mean?

I tried to capture his responses in English. Ariel’s pride in Israel’s special mix of east and west, struggle and survival, clearly inspire and amaze him. It’s this love of Israel that we try to capture and share with our students at Temple Emanuel. Often poems and songs are the best way to do it.

A Life in Israel

Ariel Yacobi with Diana Yacobi

It’s not America

but it is.

intimate, small

but proud and pacing.

eastern eyes look westward


It’s not Europe

but it is.

not old world or refined,

but ancient stones glow warm

with cafes, coffee, cakes and tea.

It’s not the Middle East

but it is.

not the Arab’s middle east, but

beaches, beauties and boutiques

yawn and simmer in the midday heat.

Life’s not expensive

but it is.

on streets, the good life

but there’s nothing.

no oil, no iron, water, land,

not even one

does she command.

It’s not a big place

but it is.

a morning’s trip from

toe to tip but

spirited, she dreams

draws her life

from sand and stone,

from time, from tears,

she’s not alone.

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