We love and appreciate our soldiers, airmen and sailors of the IDF. Thanks to Hashem and to the wonderful young men of the Israeli Navy, we can walk the gorgeous beaches south of Ashdod at night and speak to Hashem without worrying about infiltrations from the sea. These dedicated young men do an outstanding job; I'd like for you to meet one of them, 1st Lieutenant Amir Shtadler who speaks English and is exec officer of the INS Atzmaut, a Saar 4-class missile boat. May Hashem bless and protect our soldiers, and bring them all home safely, amen!
I really want to make Aliya with my family, but people have been telling me that if I don't have a half million US bucks, I won't be able to get a decent apartment. I don't want a mortgage, and with property values in my area, I'll barely clear $200,000 when I sell my home. What can I possibly buy in Israel with that amount of money? Thanks for your time and attention, Gerald from Midwest USA
if you're looking for a flat with in an American neighborhood of Ramat Bet Shemesh or Jerusalem's Ramat Eshkol or Har Nof, $500,000 is roughly what you'll pay. But, if you're willing to both live and think outside the Anglo-Israeli box, then you'll have some wonderful opportunities, where $200,000 or less will suffice.
Gorgeous places up north with growing observant communities are Maalot, Nazareth Illit, Tzefat and Kiriat Shemona.
As far as the south of Israel goes, Arad has the cleanest air in the world and it's also gorgeous. For $200,000 or less in Ashkelon, you can get an apartment in walking distance to the Mediterranean. If you go to a place like Ofakim or Yerucham, you can get a palace for $150,000 or less.
Contact my dear friends at Nefesh B'Nefesh, because there are usually several incentive programs for moving to the Galilee up north or to the Negev down south. Both are wonderful places to raise your family. Remember also that education here is virtually free, but you'll have to a bit of legwork to find the right schools for your children. It's well worth it. The younger they are, the easier they'll adapt. May Hashem help you succeed! Blessings always, LB
Rabbi Yosef Shlomo Kahaneman (1886-1969), The Ponovicher Rov of blessed memory, saved orphaned Jewish children from Catholic orphanages after the close of World War II. Although the priests and nuns denied that there were any Jewish children there, The Rov - accompanied by American officers - visited the orphanages at bedtime. He would call out "Shema Yisroel" and instinctly children raised their hands to cover their eyes, while crying in Yiddish, "Mama! Mama!" The holy Skolener Rebbe of blessed memory saved children in like fashion, one of whom lives in Ashdod and frequents our synagogue.
My dear and esteemed friend Yaacov Shwekey sings a moving rendition of the above story in "Shema Yisroel". In answer to all the Holocaust deniers, here is Yaacov singing with the backdrop of photos and film clips from the Holocaust. If you want to know why we need unshakable emuna and our uncompromising presence in our holy Land of Israel, see this (don't be discouraged by the first 60 seconds which tells the story of Rabbi Kahaneman in Hebrew). This is a must see:
On Yom Kippur, Iran's Achmedinejad once again repeated his threat to annihilate Israel. Predictably, less than a handful of nations voiced other than perfunctory luke-warm objections. As the Gemara teaches us, we have no one to depend on but our Father in Heaven.
Most suitably, this week's Torah portion - Haazinu - warns that our only chance of survival in the Land of Israel is by clinging to our roots.
The Sycamore tree is a living example of what the Torah's talking about; join me for a 5-minute boost of emuna...
Have a wonderful Shabbat and joyous New Year 5773!