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55 Reasons to Visit Israel

May 9, 2009 | by readers share their enthusiasm for Israel.

May 7, 2003

In honor of Israel's 55th birthday, we asked readers to share their favorite reason to visit Israel. From the hundreds of responses, it was not easy paring it down to the top 55.

Which one strikes you?

* * *

(1) Feeling the serenity of Shabbat in Jerusalem. (Alain Sportiche)

(2) As a Holocaust survivor, I recognize the faces of my lost grandparents, my many uncles, aunts, nephews, nieces and cousins and, above all the face of my martyred brother, in the crowds of Jerusalem. (Fred S. Greenwood)

(3) The sense of community that exists everywhere, from people annoyingly telling you not to cross the street on the red light (would they bother to do that here?), to the calls you get after every terror attack -- to inform you, to console you, to include you. (Lisa Abraham)

(4) When I am in Israel, I feel an inner peace. (Aaron Lerner)

(5) My favorite reason to visit Israel is to be among the people to show unity and support. I love the land, food and people. My prayers are with you on this 55th anniversary. (Pastor Sharon - MWC Evangelistic Outreach Center, Kokomo, Indiana)

(6) The best reason to visit Israel: because it's our home. (Shaul Behr)

(7) Being in Israel inspires me to behave in ways guided by Torah, which results in my being connected to eternity. (Jane Feldman)

(8) There is no other place on earth I'd rather be. Just the thought of Jerusalem makes my eyes well up and tears roll down my cheeks... especially and the scent of flowers, blossoms, buds and evergreen trees, bushes, conifers, olive, pomegranates. Everywhere I step it feels as though the land renews me. There is no other place on earth that does that to you. The Jewish people are my heroes, my role models for standards of high morality. I look up to them for truth and justice and wisdom. The Almighty has blessed this land and its people. (Snejana Dobreva Coles)

(9) You can always find a quick minyan at the GRA shul. And you can always find a slow minyan -- in the next room at the GRA shul! (Andy/Nancy)

(10) Our favorite reason for visiting Israel is to get back to our "roots," smell the air and feel the dirt of our ancestors. You can feel the history come up through the soles of your feet. (Mickey & Ron)

(11) When I walk anywhere in the country, I always feel that I'm "home." When I've traveled anywhere else in the world, and even where I live, I'm still part of a minority. In Israel, I'm part of something much more -- I belong to a vibrant, dynamic, friendly society that has made its own modern history of success. (Marion Zeiger)

(12) Seeing the accomplishments of the Israelis makes you wonder why the world is so rabid in their condemnation of the resettlement of the Israeli people. The desert has become alive with bustling cities, and a thriving economy. Visiting Israel now becomes an important statement of support for Israel, and a denial of the philosophy that “fear” will make the Israelis leave. (Julius Romanoff)

(13) My favorite reason for visiting Israel at anytime is to see my children and grandchildren. (

(14) Everything is better in Israel. Personal relationships are very real and very caring, the air smells better, the food tastes better, the sky is clearer, the birds are happier. (Janet Weiner - Rockville, MD)

(15) The best reasons to visit Israel is for the shwarma at Maoz on King George Street, the shwarma at Masov Burger near the central bus station, to talk to the people who make shwarma, and to see the lambs that become shwarma. (Tzvi Glucken)

(16) My favorite reason to visit Israel is the feeling I experience at the Western Wall. All of life's idiosyncrasies become smaller when you are engulfed by what’s most important and special. (Sheryl Sandler)

(17) To learn Torah in a place where "the air makes one wise." (Joshua Lee)

(18) I love eating falafel and chumous in Machaneh Yehudah on Friday. (Dave Kerdell)

(19) Four reasons: To feel the dry heat. To see how much the country has developed since my last visit. To go to the Ben Yehudah shuk. To visit my grandparent’s grave in Jerusalem. (Shraga)

(20) My favorite reason is to pray at the kivrei tzaddikim (righteous people's graves). (Chalvi Cohen)

(21) The best reason to visit Israel is because I haven't been there yet. (Matthew Rolland)

(22) My reason for wanting to visit Israel is to raise the spirits of the Israeli people. If Jews don’t go to their promised land, the economy gets shaken, and the spirit gets shaken. So we all have an obligation if we have the money to make Israel our first priority -- and the other countries and islands will just have to go on the backburner for awhile. (Ed Olshansky)

(23) My favorite reason to visit Israel (I've been nine times so far) is that it feels like home to my heart! I am not Jewish, but consider myself somewhat like Ruth in the Bible: a gentile with a Jewish heart. I love the sights, smells, sounds and people of Israel! (

(24) In Israel, you can see the freest Arab language press in the Middle East. (

(25) The Bible just comes alive. (Chris George)

(26) One should go to Israel to see thousands of other Jews who have the same values and beliefs as you do. It gives you strength to continue to walk in God’s ways. (Sara P.)

(27) To taste my aunt Rifka's cooking. (

(28) I am a Kohen and it would be wonderful for me to say the Priestly Blessing every day. (

(29) To experience the news. Before visiting Israel, the Palestine/Israel conflict was just a news bite. Once there, and after talking with and holding philosophical conversations with both sides, I began to not only better understand the tension, but to feel the vibe of the people as well. And that's not something you'll ever get from your comfy chair and CNN in your home. (Glenn Squire)

(30) My favorite reason to visit Israel is to see that Jewish people come in all colors, shapes and sizes and can hold all kinds of jobs......from doctors and lawyers, to police and street cleaners. It is good to teach our children that they can be anything! (Mike S.)

(31) It's great for your ego. Everyone tells you how brave you are when all you did is get on a plane. (Andy/Nancy)

(32) I visit Israel because I feel connected in the present to past and future at the same time. It is timeless. (Sarah M.)

(33) This summer will be my 45th visit. I need to go to Israel each year to recharge my Jewish soul. (Rene)

(34) To see as many Jews as possible from one end to the other. (Elizabeth Escandon)

(35) Every four steps is another mitzvah. (Roger G.)

(36) Because Israel is the centerpiece of Creation. It is the place where everything makes sense, and where people from all corners of the world meet together. It is the center of three of the world’s religions, the center of world politics. (DJ Williams)

(37) The best reason to visit is because, I have never been there. I only viewed it via’s Western Wall camera. (Joy B.)

(38) In Israel, I felt that I had a chance to really grow and "find myself" as a Jew and a person without the distractions of being a Jew in exile. (M.E.S.A.)

(39) The scenery is unparalleled when standing at the Dead Sea (lowest point on earth) and then directly above it at the top of Masada. The unplanned tears that come down your face as you experience the pain of what was lost, but yet the hope of what will come promised through the prophets long ago. It is so awesome beyond words, that when you depart, you cannot say goodbye, only that you will be back. There is an unseen force that draws you in and assures you that you will be back again, it's where you belong, it's home. (Char)

(40) The incredible sense of unity. Being in Israel makes you feel connected to everything and every person on earth. (Miriam)

(41) To see true permanence. As Mark Twain said, "All things are mortal but the Jew." In Israel, you can see buildings that were around thousands of years ago, and what could easily be around thousands of years from now. In America, nothing goes back more than a few hundred years (except for a few Native American sites), but those don't compare to places that are all over Israel. (Matt Wantman)

(42) Miracles occur daily. (Nathan Morris)

(43) Where else do people rush to invite your for a Shabbat dinner? How many people do you know would open their houses to strangers they have never seen before? Having visited Israel a few years ago, it was a turning point in my life. In this moment of emotional and economic hardship, all the people there will really appreciate your visit. (Rodrigo)

(44) Going to Israel isn't just a vacation for me, it’s a voyage that will help me discover who I am. (Ben Bumpas)

(45) To visit Israel is to hear the sweet melody of Hebrew all around you, like a lyrical and poetic birdsong that truly touches your soul. (Malka)

(46) To pray at the Western Wall. You can't get closer to God than that! (Lisa)

(47) To challenge myself by climbing Masada -- and then having the satisfaction of watching the sunset from the top of it! (Susane)

(48) Contractors, workmen and realtors quote Torah verses during the ordinary course of their work. (Andy/Nancy)

(49) Every Jew must visit Israel at least once in his lifetime -- to know "Where we come from" in order to fully understand "Who we really are.” (Manuel Gwiazda)

(50) It’s the only place where I truly feel at home. (Inna)

(51) To make an obvious statement that God knows what He's doing, has proven His love and mercy for us, and we just need to cooperate and appreciate the gift. (Katherine Bair)

(52) Being able to talk to God whenever I want without being thought of as crazy. (Esther Y.)

(53) Dancing in the streets of Jerusalem during Sukkot. (Sammy G)

(54) The ability to fulfill dozens of mitzvot that I can't do anywhere else. (Ben Zucker)

(55) When your children ask what you did when Israel was alone, you will be able to tell them that you did not leave them alone. (Jack O.)


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