Israel Forever

For the week ending 24 December 2005 / 23 Kislev 5766

The Musical Way Back to Israel

by Rabbi Mendel Weinbach zt'l
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Many Jews dream of returning to settle in Eretz Yisrael once they have visited the country and been captivated by its sacred charm. Coming back to stay, however, is a challenge that not too many succeed in meeting.

In this week’s Torah portion we read of the return to Eretz Yisrael of the Patriarch Yaakov after being away for 22 years. For Asher and Hannah Blachman the return came much sooner.

Both of these highly-talented musicians were in Israel in 1985 as participants in Ohr Somayach’s Jewish Learning Exchange program. Like so many others who enjoy such an experience they began to dream of someday returning to settle here. Their common dream began to come true when they became engaged and planned to come to Israel soon after getting married. It took a little longer but they finally made it in September of 1987.

Here is how Hannah explained to the Jerusalem Post the couple’s reason for making aliyah:

“We’re musicians and we wanted to make our living by playing music. But we’re also religious and wanted to keep Shabbat. In North America (Asher is from Brooklyn and Hannah from Winnipeg) doing both is not easy. Too much depends on Saturday work. Staying there would have meant changing our professions in order to eat, which we weren’t willing to do. So we made aliya to keep Shabbat.”

It’s motivation such as this that will preserve Israel forever.

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