Printed from

Rabbi's Blog

Unexpected meeting

Dear Friends, 

Last Sunday, as of every day in our 20 days in Israel (excluding Shabbat), we were getting ready for another family trip to a site that we wanted our children to visit. This was our plan until my sister in law was on the phone.

"I would be happy to look after your children so you can go by yourself this morning" she generously offered, and suggested that we should go to a close by winery and dairy goat farm for breakfast.

We accepted her kind offer and we took my mother along to the lovely "Yekev Adir" in the village of Dalton. It was a beautiful morning, the breakfast was delicious and the place was very calm. We realized that it was a great idea...

photo (20).JPGWe were sitting in the patio of that little restaurant when a very familiar face appeared at the door. Our dear friend from Victoria, Maya Herzog, who also taught in our Hebrew School last year, suddenly showed up. We were all shocked, for a moment I thought she was sent by someone...

"It was a last minute decision to go on birthright trip to Israel" she explained, “we were inside the building when I thought I saw you out the window..."

I was prepared for one of these "Kotel" sudden meeting of a Victorian, I absolutely didn’t expect it in quiet Dalton... 

It was a great bonus for a lovely morning in the gorgeous Galil Mountains in northern Israel.

The Mothers of Israel...

Dear Friends,

In the last two weeks we have been in many places across Israel, from the north to the south, in the busy streets of the major cities and in the narrow alleys of the old towns. I think the children collected many great memories; one of the powerful ones was last Tuesday.

We took the bus from Jerusalem to the old city of Chevron to the cave of the Machpela, the resting place of Avraham and Sarah, Yitzchak and Rivkah and Ya'akov and Leah.

photo (4).JPGI have never been there in such a quiet time. The big ancient building was nearly empty, perhaps another three families were visiting with us; it was very intimate.

The older children didn't need much explanation, they knew from their studies that they are walking on the first parcel of land Avram bought in the land of Israel, they were very excited to be praying on the gravesite of the patriarchs and matriarchs they are were hearing about from a tender age.

Mussi, our oldest, was engaged in a very lively conversation with Rochel. She took her to each of the tombs and explained her with great passion about the mothers and fathers of our people. Chani and I have never seen Mussi taking that role before.

At the bus stop we saw two young girls, pointing on our children and smiling. "Are you Mrs. Kaplan's son?" one of them asked; without waiting for my confirmation she continued "we just got back from Tzfat, where we traveled to get some wisdom from her".

Leaving the cave of the Matriarchs I was happy to be reminded that there are mothers of Israel today, who are leading the way forward. Older sisters too…

Welcome home!

Dear Friends,

Chani, the children and I arrived safely in Israel. It was a long voyage, with not much sleep but the excitement of the children started while in the airport, when they saw something they have never seen before.

mezuzah.jpgAs we were getting off the airplane, before we even reached the Israeli immigration, the children looked to their right and were amazed by the huge Mezuzah hanging at the entrance to the arrival hall.

I think it wasn't only the unusual size of the Mezuzah that drew their attention, it was the idea that a Mezuzah at the entrance to the country is what welcomed them to the land.

This item explains everything about the experience of coming to Israel for the first time from the diaspora. Israel is not a field of pink roses, but it is our home and we felt it in our hearts when we kissed that big Mezuzah in Ben Gurion international airport…

Visiting home

Dear Friends,

On Wednesday, Chani and I and all of our children will be going to Israel for a visit. Many people have asked us "Are you sure you want to go now?" My answer is Davka (especially) now!" Here is why:

The attack of Hamas is not against Israel, it's against us all. The covenant of this terrorist organization doesn't differentiate between a Jew in Israel or a Jew in Canada. The rockets that rain on Israel are not targeting a party with a certain political view and the tunnels they dug are meant to destroy lives of people of whom we share the same faith.

israel.jpgWe are not going there as supporters of Israel, but as the people of Israel. In Canada or in France, in Australia or in China, we are all one; and a family must come together during difficult times.

We are also going to Israel with great hope. I want to show my children that we have rebuilt our ancient homeland; I would like them to see a vibrant  Jewish culture. A place where Jewish holidays are the national holidays, where the Holy Tongue is the spoken language, and where Kosher is the default for your typical restaurant.

I want them to witness a place that, despite all of their hardships, have established a very strong and innovative society, a country that continues to contribute to the world at large in every aspect of human life. I'd like them to see Jewish people praying again at the City of King David and at the tomb of Rachel. I want them to sing Lecha Dodi in the city where it was composed and study the Talmud in the locations it was written and be surrounded by living memories of our three millennia of history.

By the end of this trip I hope they will feel that, while their home as a family is in Canada, their home as a people is Israel, a parcel of land for which we have yearned for 2,000 years and we pray every day to return to it permanently with a complete redemption. May we live to see it and celebrate together. AMEN!

Looking for older posts? See the sidebar for the Archive.