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Rabbi Rich Kirschen


A row of smiling Israeli teens

My wife and I moved from Providence, Rhode Island, to Israel with our three small children in 2004. With the Second Intifada still raging, “timing” wasn’t one of our strong points. However, relatively quickly after our arrival in Jerusalem, Yasser Arafat died, and the Second Intifada ran out of steam.

So, for the last 14 years, although there have been ups and downs, overall, we have been happy with our decision to make aliyah (move to Israel to live) and to raise our children as Israelis. Albeit, there have been many times when we did enact the “PR machine” to justify to our...

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Recently, together with new Israeli friends who joined them for a week, participants in the URJ’s NFTY in Israel program learned the story of the modern state of Israel. There are so many amazing parts of this country that are connected to living in a public culture that is Jewish and so many ways that Jewishness shapes the realms of language, literature, film, TV, social media, and more. In Israel, public space is Jewish space, and having a public culture that reflects this reality is one of the most important reasons the Jewish people needs its own country (like all other peoples)....

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