Live Like an Israeli

I think we can all learn a thing or three from the Israeli’s way of life. I recently took a 10-day organized trip all around Israel and became immersed in Israeli culture. I was completely disconnected from electronic devices, from work, and from the everyday stresses that life may bring.

You may be thinking, “Why Israel?” With so much going on in the world right now it’s not the most obvious choice for a vacation spot. Most people would have opted for the safer and traditional vacation i.e. Puerto Rico, Bahamas, Aruba, St. Thomas, etc.

Before I left, I told my manicurist I was going to Israel and she looked at me like I had 10 heads. She asked me why the hell I was going to Israel of all places and repeatedly told me to be safe and to take care of myself. After she was done she gave me a huge hug and acted as if it was the last time she would ever paint my nails. Dramatic much? Maybe not.

Israel is often the center of controversy. Ever since gaining its independence Israel has been fighting to keep it. Over 80% of the population in Israel is Jewish.  As a country that was built and is run based on religion, Israel is constantly fighting to defend itself.

During my 10 day trip, I spent time with 7 Israelis: 5 soldiers, one tour guide and one medic. I met Americans who had made the Aaliyah and moved to Israel to either join the Army or just to live, I met Bedouins, and I met Israeli Arabs. I didn’t know what to expect before arriving in Israel. I just pictured lots and lots of sand — literally just sand everywhere. And yes, there was some sand. But there was also so much more than that. I came back with an entirely different perspective and a newfound respect for the people of Israel that I never expected to find.

I faced one of the scariest moments of my life when the group I was with was staying on a kibbutz near the Gaza Strip, just 10 miles away from where missiles were being fired. We had to spend most of the night in a bomb shelter and we could hear the missiles being launched.  Some people even saw them flying overhead. What kept us calm was the way the Israelis handled themselves. Throughout the entire experience they were extremely calm and used humor, the universal language, to lighten the mood. They entertained us in the shelter with card games, jokes, and for those who needed it — there was wine.

For the Israelis, occurrences like those aren’t uncommon. It is unfortunate but a fact of reality. The only way to get through is with some humor, good company, and I guess the wine doesn’t hurt either.

I think we can all find some inspiration from the philosophy in which Israelis live their lives no matter what your religious beliefs. As a migraineur, I admired their easy-going mentality and free spirit. I hope that I am able to take some of what I learned from them back with me and incorporate it into my daily routine.

There is currently a petition and a group on Facebook to have the Israeli Prime Minister, Netanyahu, delay the war with Iran until after the Madonna concert. So you see, they’re not a war-driven, violent people. They are a fun-loving people who are faced with adversity and at the end of the day they are just like us—they want to live their lives and see Madonna in concert. And really, who doesn’t?