Israel. Religion, Faith, Hebrew and Solar Energy.

The real Israel - people living ordinary lives in an extraordinary place.

People who visit Israel say that there is something special about it. Something special in the air. Air in Israel is different. Aura there is different. Even experienced travelers, who went around the globe, who visited all corners of the world admit that Israel stays apart from other places. When you step on its land you feel the difference immediately. It's in the air. You feel it with all your pores, its above understanding, you can't articulate it. You just feel it. In Israel even hereditary atheists become less cynical; they feel the sacredness of the place.

Not to sound pathetic, I'll tell an old joke which I've just recollected - A journalist went to interview heads of several countries. He visited American president first. During interview he paid attention that there were many telephones in the office; all phones were of black color, except one which was red. The journalist asked what all those phones were. "Well," answered the president," This one is a direct line with the Russian president, and that one is a direct line to the president of France, that one...." And he named countries. "What about the red phone?" asked the journalist. "Oh," was the answer, "That one is a direct line to God Almighty." The same story was in presidents' offices of other countries. Black phones were direct lines with foreign presidents but the red one was a direct line with God. When the journalist came to interview an Israeli prime-minister, he also saw many black phones and one red one on his table. He decided to surprise the prime-minister with his knowledge and said, "I know what the red phone is for."-"That one?" said the Israeli prime-minister," Ah, that one is local."

Now, after you laughed or at least grinned, I'll tell you that it is true. Some people consider that the sacredness of Israel is conditioned by Bible, by the fact that we read names in the Bible and see in Israel all these places in reality. I haven't read the Book before I came to Israel. Remember- I grew up in Soviet Union, where the Bible was read underground. I got it in my hands ones for a couple of hours when I was 20 and all what I had time to read was The Song Of Songs of King Solomon. I was never an atheist before; as well I was never religious. I am a believer and think that faith stands way above religion.

Dome on the Rock. Jerusalem.
Dome on the Rock. Jerusalem.
Kotel- the Wailing Wall
Kotel- the Wailing Wall
Road to Jerusalem
Road to Jerusalem

If you don't have your eyes wet when you go up to Jerusalem for the first time, something is wrong with your spirit. The road to Jerusalem is cut out in the rocks. It goes up, as Jerusalem lays high in the mountains. In Hebrew they don't say just "to go to Jerusalem", it sounds like "to ascend to Jerusalem" and when you go out of city, it sounds in Hebrew like "to descend". Apparently, not only its geographical position is meant here.

On the way to Jerusalem, close to the city, you can notice remains of military vehicles on the left side from the road. These are real remains of fighting equipment left from the military actions in 1948, which started immediately after Israel was proclaimed as a country.

http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Foreign+Relations/Israels+Foreign+Relations+since+1947/1947-1974/THE+WAR+OF+INDEPENDENCE+-+INTRODUCTION.htm

The old equipment was left there as a memory of those battles, as it is not at all common in Israel to make monuments, as the second commandment prohibits making any image.

http://www.keyway.ca/htm2002/tencom.htm

Country of Israel lives without Constitution, so Bible laws are considered legal.

 

I didn't have any problem that in Israel government is not separated from religion. Lots of secular Jews are outraged that there's no public transportation on Saturday, that malls are closed, as well as many entertainment places. But if you are not looking to make a problem from this, there's no problem. In some cities there are alternative shops working all the time. Many people have their own cars and go travelling any days. There are travel agencies that organize tours on Saturdays. I think that if you are not going to become religious and obey their laws, you shouldn't live in orthodox quarters. As a Russian proverb says, "В чужой монастырь со своим уставом не ходят», meaning «You don't implant your rules in a strange place», in short, when you go to Rome, do as Rome does. I agree that some times it's archaic when religion has to rule. For instance many religious Jews are not doing anything except reading prayers and fooling us that they are doing it for our salvation. They and their families live on welfare for generations. Practically they parasite on other people's labor. But again, it can happen in any place. It's sad though, when religion is substituted for faith. You can make quite well in Israel without religion, but it is hard to live in Israel without faith.

Eliezer Ben-Yehuda   (1858-1922). One of the first Zionists. Credited with the revival of Hebrew as a modern language.      Image from www.havelshouseofhistory.com
Eliezer Ben-Yehuda (1858-1922). One of the first Zionists. Credited with the revival of Hebrew as a modern language. Image from www.havelshouseofhistory.com
Eliezer Ben-Yehuda Signature.      Image from www.havelshouseofhistory.com
Eliezer Ben-Yehuda Signature. Image from www.havelshouseofhistory.com

Hebrew, language of TANAKH

People in Israel are very warm and hospitable. Israel is a country of immigrants, so usually there are at least two languages in a family, the language of grandparents (depending on the land of their exodus) and Hebrew. Hebrew, language of the Book (TANAKH), was not spoken for ages. It was mostly written language. Male Jews were able to understand and speak it in a limited way, but it was not the spoken language of many. Until Eliezer Ben-Yehuda, pioneer in the revival of Hebrew, introduced it to everyday life through his own efforts and enthusiasm with the help of people surrounding him.

When we moved to Israel my son was a three year old kid who could speak Russian very well. He was a witty young man, listening and absorbing all what was spoken around. He probably heard how old immigrants were saying to me, that I should work hard to learn Hebrew, but I shouldn't worry about the kid. "Children are picking up a new language naturally", they say,"You won't notice how fast he'll start speaking Hebrew and forget Russian". My son was attending a local kindergarten, where they spoke only Hebrew. After four months the teacher got worried why Reuven didn't speak Hebrew yet. "I see that he understands everything," she told to me,"but he wouldn't say anything." At home I asked my son what the problem was. He lowered his eyes and confessed, "If I start speaking Hebrew, I will forget Russian. How am I going to talk to Grandma then?" I felt my eyes wet. We think that immigrant children don't have any problems; that they integrate into new life naturally. We are very egoistic. Children are the same human beings; they are just smaller in size. I explained to my three-and-a-half-year-old son that he would not forget Russian, he would know two languages. The next day he produced a long and eloquent phrase in front of his kindergarten teacher in a beautiful Hebrew. They made a celebration for him that day, sang for him Israeli songs, draw pictures for him. He was a king for the day.

Solar plates on the roof of a multiapartment building in Ashdod.
Solar plates on the roof of a multiapartment building in Ashdod.

Outhouses VS Solar Energy and Drip Irrigation

Our first rented apartment in Israel was absolutely empty. We brought our first beds and chairs from the street. People put outside what they do not need, usually it is something still good. Neighbors brought to us bags with clothes for my son. All around us were friendly and tolerant to my broken Hebrew. As we didn't know much about Israel, the same Israeli natives didn't know much about the place from where we came. Russia was a symbol of woods and bears for them. My neighbor, an old Morocco immigrant was genuinely surprised to learn that we had a bathroom with a bathtub in the old country. They were sure that in Russia we had just outhouses. I didn't tell her, that for some remote places in that big and rich country it was true. Even now some parts there still can be called "unwashed Russia". Israel herself made a speedy progress from an outside water closets country to a Hi Tech society. While people all over the world are spreading demagogy about alternative energy and saving of natural resources, Israel is living it.

Sun and water.

Two things that amazed me from the first day were big white barrels with black mirrors on the roofs of the houses and thin plastic pipes on the ground around the trees and bushes. The first was called "Dood shemesh" (Sun boiler), a system that uses solar energy to heat water for household needs. Israel has sun all year round and even in rainy winter days sun is able to heat water through the clouds. As a back up all houses have electrical water heaters as well. Energy is not wasted in Israel. People heat their water by electricity only when it's needed. My cousin, who lives in Kazakhstan, liked the idea of "dood shemesh" so much, that he built one in his country summer house.

Plastic pipes on the ground around trees and bushes are an excellent example of drip irrigation, widely used in Israeli gardening and on the fields. Israeli farmers pick up harvest twice a year. Israeli people prefer to buy local food products, and in the stores there are like 90% of "made in Israel" goods.

When my little son learnt from a neighbor, that Israeli farmers feed their cows bananas and oranges, he said, "Ah, that's how banana milk and orange milk is made!"


Common individual Solar Boiler-Dood Shemesh
Common individual Solar Boiler-Dood Shemesh
Solar boiler constructed by my cousin in Kazakhstan for his summer cabin.
Solar boiler constructed by my cousin in Kazakhstan for his summer cabin.
Pipe of drip irrigation.
Pipe of drip irrigation.

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Comments 39 comments

Vladimir Uhri profile image

Vladimir Uhri 7 years ago from HubPages, FB

Thanks Vera for wonderful info. I was in Israel before, but there is so many things to learn. I would love to speak Hebrew, since the Bible is my favored Book. I like to read in original language. I love Israel so much. It is wonderful country.

I have, however, problem with radical Arabs. Only Arabs started all wars. Still many US people do not understand it. Arabs belong to Arabia and Israelis to Israel. The Bible record is clear that all who split Holy Land will not do good. Israel is apple (correctly iris) of the God's eyes. When someone poke to God's eyes God will not be blind but "poker" will. This is the way it is. To poke to God and His property, do not expect blessings.

Even Koran said that God gave to Israel Holy land. It does not belong to Arabs.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

Dr. Uhri, thank you for reading and commenting. I try to avoid sharp points of politic as much as I can while writing about Israel. I just want to show to people that Israel is a small brave and blooming country and not at all a monster.

I am very happy that you love Israel and you should visit there again for sure. I’m planning to write about travelling in Israel.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

Sounds like a wonderful place, folks. We are hoping to install solar water heating soon, and make use of the beautiful free sun!

One day I will visit!


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

I'd love to take all you hubbers-folks around, if I am there at that time :)


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

fascinating hub!My son is growing up speaking both English and Hebrew; it's a very poetic language.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

LondonGirl, thank you for reading and commenting. Also thank you for your support.

Yes, Hebrew is a very beautiful language, very melodic. It's like a music to hear Israeli kids speak it, they are singing it. It's great that your son will know two languages on the level of native language. My son speaks three languages (English, Hebrew and Russian), we made it sure to keep all three languages spoken at home.


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

In translation, I also find it beautiful - "I am the daughter of 30 years" is such a lovely way of saying how old you are!

Sadly, at the age of 3, Isaac's Hebrew is overtaking mine, but I'm still trying.


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

I know how you feel, London Girl - I still find Greek difficult!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

Although melodic, it's a loud language. When my other half and his brother are chatting in Hebrew, it's at twice their normal volume!


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

lol - the same with Greek, although they do like to argue.

Must be a Mediterranean thing!


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

An Israeli missing an arm has a speech impediment....


Sufidreamer profile image

Sufidreamer 7 years ago from Sparti, Greece

The resemblance is uncanny!

A Greek is always right.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

I MISS speaking Hebrew. I came to Israel not knowing a word and within a year I picked the language so easily, that it almost seemed that I was not learning it, but recalling it. Now I’m forgetting the spoken Hebrew, to my big regret.

“An Israeli missing an arm has a speech impediment....” LondonGirl, straight to the point! :-) 

“Must be a Mediterranean thing!”-Must be for sure, Sufidreamer:-)  


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

London Girl,

Speaking about how beautiful Hebrew is, what about this way to say “I like her”- hi motzet hen be ainai- she finds grace in my eyes…


LondonGirl profile image

LondonGirl 7 years ago from London

Why not chat on the phone, or find a social group, or something, to keep it going?


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

We live in a very small town, so I have only my son to talk Hebrew to. Unfortunately, he is more used to speak Russian at home (because of Grandma). He is in college in Milwaukee, WI and there he has more ways to keep his Hebrew active. I really try to do something, I read books in Hebrew and use any oportunity to talk it. But not on a regular level, not as much as needed to keep it alive. I suppose it's natural, living in another country. I enjoy English no less than Hebrew and Russian :)


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

LondonGirl, I added Israeli channel to my satellite TV programming :) Looks like I am fine, still understand all. Now I just need somebody near me to talk Hebrew :)


Guru-C profile image

Guru-C 7 years ago

Oh, I love this hub!!!!! Thank you for your courage.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

Thank YOU, Cory, for encouragement. It means a lot to me. You should read how some people trashed me on forum topics when I stood up for Israel.


likeme-likeyou profile image

likeme-likeyou 7 years ago

thanks about your article - a leave in israel - in ntivot city - (near gaza strip) - i love israel and pray that all the jewish in all the wourld will make "alliya". your articles - start to make them think more about this - thanks!!!


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, likeme! Nice to see you on Hubpages. I hope you will write about Israel too, to show to people how beautiful this country is and how beautiful and good the people are there.


Lgali profile image

Lgali 7 years ago

I love this hub nice photos


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

Thanks, Lgali.


ratcliffe07 profile image

ratcliffe07 7 years ago

Oh this was so great to read! I lived in Israel for two years and I miss it so much! I loved reading this and wish i had more time to read others...I agree about israel the first time i set foot on ground after i got off plane i said wow, i am home. I knew then i wanted to live there forever


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

ratcliffe, thanks for your comment. I'd wish people will know more truth about Israel and the people there, but not just what biased mass media puts into them.

Thanks again. Beshana abaa be yerushalaim (next year in Jerusalem)!


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

ratcliffe, if I may ask, where did you live in Israel, what part? Do you have relatives there or was it part of some programm?


febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia

I enjoy reading this hub very much. Thank you for the information hope I could visit Israel someday..:)


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

febriedethan, you are welcome and thank you for visiting and reading. I also hope you will visit Israel and see for yourself what a beautiful and peace loving country it is. Please, read more of my hubs about Israel.


febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia

Hi..it's me again, I wonder if I could learn the Hebrew language from you, thank's


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

Hi,febriedethan. It's very nice that you have a desire to learn Hebrew... I lived in Israel for 10 years and I do know Hebrew, though I am forgetting it, as I don't use it much here in US. But I don't think I can teach it, especially through internet, I am sorry. I would advise you to search the web, I'm sure you can find some sites with help. I will try to search too and if I find something worthy I'll let you know.


febriedethan profile image

febriedethan 7 years ago from Indonesia

Thank you Reuvera you're so kind.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 7 years ago from USA Author

febriedethan, this is a very nice link to a real Hebrew-learning opportunity:

http://www.hebrewonline.com/

Also, you may want to check out this one:

http://foundationstone.com.au/HtmlSupport/FrameSup...


ZdLISA 6 years ago

Did you use the ideas of a essay writing service for your famous outcome? I think that you really have good argument essay accomplishing technique. Thanks a lot for that!


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 6 years ago from USA Author

Lisa, no, I didn't use any ideas. I just write how I feel and about what I know.


funride profile image

funride 5 years ago from Portugal

Your last comment explains a lot... I really loved to read this hub!

Thanks for sharing this and showing us how much we are the same no matter where we live :)


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 5 years ago from USA Author

Thank you, funride for visiting and commenting. You are so right, people are the same! Just I wish that some people wouldn't be brainwashed by politicians and blinded by hatred....


Ghost32 5 years ago

I'm not Christian, but even so, I've no doubt that "my eyes would wet" upon reaching Jerusalem. Because I DO believe in reincarnation...and have little doubt that any number of past lives were spent literally living the history of Israel in one way or another.

We no longer travel due to Pam's health issues, but if there were one place I'd visit before any other, it would be Israel.


ReuVera profile image

ReuVera 5 years ago from USA Author

I think that even atheists will have their eyes wet going up to Jerusalem for the first time, as great energy is there.

Israel is worth of visiting, no doubt in this.


joyce.blue 5 years ago

I enjoyed reading your hub. It seems that Hebrew is a nice language, I hope I can learned some.

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