Why I Don't Live In Israel

Not everyone has the merit.


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Comments (44)

(44) Erez, March 14, 2012 5:31 AM

You are so welcome to live her if it's up to me

As an Israeli and a Jew, i think i represent most most Israelis by saying we would love to see you Lori, and people wonderful like you-come and live with us in the holyland. that goes for good people of all peaceful religions-Christians, Jews, Bahians, Hindus and Budahists. God bless :D

(43) Anonymous, December 15, 2010 4:27 AM

You CAN be here.

You really can be here, but you will, no doubt, be living on a different standard. Have you ever truly thought about that? For some, it is difficult to take a step or two down. But, Lori, it CAN be done, and there are miracles and wonders each and every day. One can forget the riches of "there."

(42) Iris Moskovitz, May 19, 2009 8:26 AM

Very inspirational message.

I merited to be able to go to Israel for the first time, at the age of 41 with my husband.I can not describe in adequate words my emotions I felt when I stepped foot on the kodesh land.I was always so frightened about going to Israel, but decided to go when I was given the chance by Hashem. My husband and my in-laws were all together and had an amazing time.Seeing the Kotel live was just amazing. I broke down in tears and couldnt praise Hashem enough for allowing me to experience this.For anyone who has the chance to go -GO. You will never regret the time for a single moment.Take the time to just look at all the beautiful land and kedusha around you.

(41) ariella, January 7, 2009 8:09 PM

Dear Lori, thanks for this video. I am currently in America for different reasons, yet I identified with the emotion behind your words - longing to be in Israel again and your description of leaving. May G-d bring us all back very soon - until then, may we always keep the longing in our hearts.

(40) malka, December 15, 2008 4:26 PM

our purpose

For anyone who thinks that we should all move to Israel, I understand how you feel and that it''s a mitzvah to live there. But we should understand that there is a purpose for being where ever we are. Imagine someone is in Los Angeles and helps a follow Jew and makes an impact on them. That wouldn''t have happened if the person wasn''t there to help them.

I heard that Torah needs to be spread through out the world, before mashiach comes. The job of the previous generation and their children, was to build up the east coast and west coast of the US. And BH we have grown so much. There are still many Jews here though that are in need of guidence. I understand that there are many Jews in Israel that need guidence also, but they can get that from people there, while we, in the US help some people here. Plus, I think it''s best for people to improve here before moving because just like our mitzvos are amplified in the Holy Land, so is our trangressions.
We should trust that G-d will let us know when it''s time to go home to Israel, May it be soon

(39) Laya, December 15, 2008 11:10 AM

Wish you were here, too!

Lori, you are awesome and the work you do is awesome. I trust you will be here in just the right time. Hashem has a way of getting people where he wants them to be... Don't worry we are holding your place for you! xoxox

(38) Atticus, November 29, 2008 10:29 PM

Gratitute to the Jewish

Dear Lori,I know how you feel. I'm not a Jewish but a chinese minority living in Malaysia.My passport doesn't permit me to go to Isreal, where the only place I've always dreamed to go. I've always been curious about Isreal and the Jewish people. My heart is always with the Jewish people.I praise & thank them everyday. I share Jewish wisdom my chinese friends and relatives almost everyday...especially the kids. Being honest to myself, I really don't care if some people may think I'm weird for being so obssessed with everything about Jewish. Once a while,I'd feel being trapped in Chinese Culture or being alone here in an Islamic country believing in everything the Jewish people believe. But,I'm very thankful to be in God's plan...that even though I'm not a born Jewish,I feel so lucky that I have a chance to learn Jewish wisdom and Hebrew through Internet everyday. I don't know if I'd have any chance to visit Isreal oneday in my entire life. I'll continue to share Jewish wisdom and show good examples to the people around me. I thank God. I thank the Jewish people for their contributions to the world. I thank aish.com for giving me wisdom everyday.I am learning everyday. Atticus

(37) yj, November 24, 2008 1:03 PM

Did you listen to what Lori said?

For those who "disagree" with Lori's decision not to make aliyah, please realize: She was NOT saying that the obstacles of being married, having a family, financial strains etc. were preventing her aliyah. Her point was that Hashem has a job for her to do, and that job is not in Eretz Yisroel, but in North America.

(36) Sonya Davidson, November 10, 2008 6:54 AM

First time I disagree with you

I waited a week before I responded and see with 34 responses others feel as passionate about it as I do. I heard you live in Columbus and this is the first time I ever disagreed with you. Lech Lecha, H-shem said to Abram, “Go for yourself from your land, from your birthplace and from your fathers house to the land I will show you.” Genesis 12-1. Rambam says the reason the scripture mentions your land and your birthplace and your father’s house is because for a man to leave his land, in which he dwells, where his loved one and friends are. This is why the Scripture writes from your land. This is all the more so when it is also the land of his birthplace, where he was born. Thus the scripture writes. From your birthplace. And it is all the more so when his father’s entire household is there. Thus it states, from your father’s house. Therefore, for Abraham to overcome all these difficulties, it was necessary to tell him that he should leave everything for the love of the holy one, blessed is He. Rambam Page 289 Artscroll series The torah: with Rambam’s commentary translated, annotated, and elucidated. For all the portions we read of the Torah this one has spoken to me the loudest because I did follow the path by making Aliyah like Abraham my forefather did. It also talks about overcoming obstacles that is what I did to make Aliyah.

(35) Carolyn, November 9, 2008 2:20 PM

Another Thank You

Dear Lori, I am 20 years old (coincidentally from Toronto as well) and have been watching your videos for over a year now. I have taken some time off from University for some personal growth and to begin figuring out what direction I should be going in personally, professionally,and religiously. I made a few promises to myself before beginning this journey, and one of them was to always watch your videos. I cannot begin to tell you how much they have helped me in my daily life and dealings with people. Sharing your Jewish advice and wisdom doesn't make me feel pressured and allows some personal afterthought. I just wanted to say a heartfelt thank you and hopefully we too will cross paths in Israel!

(34) Adam, November 2, 2008 12:19 AM

don't judge

Anyone who submits a comment criticizing Lori for staying in America is guilty of doing something that has been derided time and again on this very forum - judging others. Stop it. Making aliyah is a complex decision, and yes - to all those screaming at your monitors "it's a mitzvah!" - it is a mitzvah, and it is one of 613, all of which are equally obligatory. (And I know there is a chazal that says living there is as weighty as all the other mitzvot put together, but they say the same thing about learning Torah and giving tzedakah.) Machashavah k'ma'aseh - an intention is like a deed. It's clear that Lori embodies the passionate sentiment of R' Yehuda HaLevi who wrote "Libi b'mizrach, v'ani b'sof ma'arav" - "My heart is in the East, and I am in the end of the West." Her heart, her desire, her thoughts, are in the right place, so do not be choshesh b'ksherim (suspect of those who are "kosher"). Chazal also say that the land of Israel breeds gayvah - haughtiness (which is mentioned several times in the Al Chets in the Yom Kippur davening), a teaching those of you who are so quick to criticize Lori, or who are so bold as to criticize every single Jew who lives in chutz la'aretz, should keep in mind. No one can judge anyone else, including those who live in Israel regarding those who do not. Lori does not deserve these kinds of comments for all of the wonderful work that she does, certainly not from anyone submitting comments here. Lori - please do not let them bother you. Stay strong and with G-d's help, at the right time, you will live in Israel where we all belong.

(33) Anonymous, October 31, 2008 7:23 AM

don't be judgemental

Anyone with a family, and often married women, can't just pick up and move to Israel because they yearn to do so and have the courage to carry through. All the judgmental comments here are distressing to me and others like me who can't just say 'hey family, I am going to Israel and will get my way whether you are on the same page as me or not.' and various other circumstances particular to each person uniquely. Clearly, if my husband and I were both equally ready to move to Israel, we'd have done it. So, in that sense maybe it's a merit. I think it's a combination of things - you must internally be committed to moving to E'Y and your family too, but you must also be aware that Hashem's will is more important that your own. If you find that you can't just pick up and move, instead of feeling 'merit-less' you should feel happy that you're doing Hashem's will the best you can wherever you are. We can't do all mitzvos in the Torah at times (for some it's living in E'Y, others it's having children or being married) - we do our best and be honest with ourselves about our motivations. Many times it's a matter of time. I am confident when it's time to go, Hashem will give us the understanding and readiness to make the move - as a family with shared readiness. Creating friction over this would be damaging and definitely not Hashem's will. So, I realize it's not my time yet to go. And I don't hold it against my husband, either. I think feeling motivated and confident enough to make that move is partially G-d given (although those who've made Aliyah may be totally confident it was THEM who felt that way and leave G-d's involvement out of that motivation.) A lot of people are judgmental of those who haven't yet 'made it' to E'Y like they did. But anyone with maturity will understand that it's not fair to judge at all and realize that human relations and circumstances are infinitely complex and can't be compared in any way to their own experience. And if it's indeed merit or 'being honest with oneself' that you're taking issue with, it's like judging someone else for not being completely ready to take on all the laws of halachah like tznius or kashrus for instance. Of course we should keep ALL of the Torah, but we are human beings - Jews- on various levels of commitment and strengths and we all strive to grow and hopefully 'get there'.

(32) Sara Rigler, October 31, 2008 4:46 AM

Dear Lori, You had me in tears at the end, when you spoke about the merit it takes to get to live in Eretz Yisrael. I can't imagine what merit I have--except for the merit of my parents and grandparents, but I am so grateful and so humbled that I got to win the lottery of living in Eretz HaKodesh. May all Jews, with or without merit, get here soon.

(31) Susie, October 30, 2008 3:44 PM

there's no place like home

I usually enjoy Lori Palatnik's 'almost live' videos, but this one made me sad. Sad, because I hear excuses for not living in Israel. You should be living in Israel because it's a mitzva - and any mitzva you do in chutz la'aretz is just practice for doing the mitzvot in Israel where there are meant to be done. You can travel abroad and speak to groups and reach people, but you must be an example to others and LIVE HERE! In almost every parsha in the torah we are reminded that we belong here - no excuses! Make those plans, pack those bags and do what you do best, in Eretz Yisrael.

(30) el, October 30, 2008 11:23 AM

u think god needs jews in america to support israel? no

(29) Anonymous, October 30, 2008 10:34 AM

What do you really feel deep in your heart?

B"H I think if we work hard enough, we can justify either sign of the coin. There is so much work to do here in Aretz. You don't have to look for it, as it will find you. WITHOUT A FIXED DATE, aliyah will seem further and further away. There is no one who is so essential, Lori. There are others who can take your place in the Diaspora. Living there is easier, and I am sure you know that in your heart. But, Lori, this is our home, "and if not now, when?" I hear the voices of millions of our people who were murdered and never had the chance to come home, and they are saying, "Now, now." Do you hear them as well, Lori?

(28) Ben Bayit, October 30, 2008 10:11 AM

simply a cop-out

Living in the Land of Israel is a mitzva that is equivalent to all other mitzvot combined. There is no such thing as not meriting to live in E"Y (certainly not on an individual level -perhaps on a national level this can happen). But for now the Nation of Israel has merited to gift of being able to live in E"Y. Any Jew, anywhere in the free world (and much of the non-free as well) can now pick up and move to E"Y. Frankly it is an embarrassment to American Jewry (especially Orthodox Jewry) that they do not move to E"Y - if if one has to change careers or leave kiruv/chinuch work.

(27) Roxanne, October 30, 2008 7:02 AM

Merit?

I also question your concern about lack of merit. It seems that many very good people in extenuating circumstances are guilted into feeling this. So Yoseph, Rambam, and the Baal Shem Tov didn't have the "merit" to live in Isreal, and the people (and even some Jews, G-d forbid it ever happening!) defending suicide bombers' rights do? Lori, I don't think there's any way you don't have the merit. You simply go where G-d needs you. :o)

(26) Anonymous, October 29, 2008 9:41 PM

Story of Rav Shach''s view on kiruv in Chutz La''aretz

While living in Israel is the ideal, clearly there are situation which allow and even warrant living outside of israel. The following is a story I heard first hand from Rabbi Zalman Ury, who was one of the leaders of the Los Angeles Jewish community.


Towards the end of his life, Rabbi Ury decided that he wanted to fulfill his life long dream and make aliyah. When he first arrived in Israel, he went to see Rav Shach whom he had known since childhood. Upon seeing Rabbi Ury, Rav Shach burst out: "Zalman, what are you doing here? Go back to Los Angeles. You are needed there."

(25) Randy, October 29, 2008 5:12 PM

Your brother

Thank you for the nice video. I hope it inspires more people to come. It is not an easy place to live but I would not live anywhere else. Regards from the "Holyland".

(24) Paul, October 29, 2008 4:37 PM

Those who don't live there protect those who do!

I have been to Israel, and I loved it. However the importance of those who don't live in Israel is not appreciated. If it were not for the Jews living in the United States and other countries, the State of Israel would not exist. The support from before independence until today has been what has kept Israel on the map. Israel is great, has and will continue to do great things, but none of that would have been nor will be without the support of Jews in other countries. So, I will stay in America and see that it remains a solid supporter of the State of Israel so that all those who live there may live in peace. That is your job Lori, don't regret it, cherish it.

(23) ruth housman, October 29, 2008 12:34 PM

being there

Hi, as always, I find your talks deeply sensitive and filled with love. I had the opportunity, years ago, just before college, to move to Israel. I went back to yes, Toronto, and completed my schooling there and went on to study in Boston where I met David, my beloved husband. The rest is history and I have two wonderful children and now, two wonderful grand children. It does seem that everything hinges on IF. It took me years to feel grounded, to feel really rooted to one place, to call this home. Now I can say there is no place like home and if your spiritual home is Israel I do believe somehow you will find your way back, but I am also, as you are, listening to your story "with the third ear" a term coined by Theodor Reik, meaning deep listening. Clearly, having met all these people your last trip, one after the other, whose lives you have influenced for positive, well I do take this for a Sign, that you are where you are supposed to be. Next Year In Jerusalem, Laurie! This isn't really about merit at all, because you merit living there. It's about a story and your part in a Divine story. Keep smiling. You are LUMINOUS!

(22) linda llewellyn, October 29, 2008 12:32 PM

Israel

I pray that one day you will get your wish to live in Israel again and may God Bless you in the meantime with all that you do.

(21) Anonymous, October 29, 2008 11:51 AM

You are a Tzadeket!

Dear Lori- Just as everyone else is writing, so do I join your "fan" club. The Aish weekly e-mails I receive are always outstanding but your videos, in addition, are moving, clear & direct, educational and inspiring. This one on why you don't live B'Aretz touched me deeply (still tearing), for I too get overwhelmed when I hear one of my former students is studying, visiting, or has a desire to live in Israel for that was one of the many subjects I teach. Indeed, HaShem has placed you here for the time being to inspire others. How do I find out about these classes you mentioned for women? Todah.

(20) Anonymous, October 29, 2008 10:26 AM

Lori - You just Do not Get It!

Lori, At the rate you are going you probably will never leave the diaspora and live in Eretz Israel. You remind me of the thousands of Yordim who constantly talk about returning to Israel, but they never do - it is just TALK very similar to the song at the end of the chagim about next year in Jerusalem - it is just a song. There is NOTHING stopping you from returning to our Homeland. So, listen to your heart and sync. it with your actions and get on the next ElAl flight and receive the merit of living in the LAND. Best regards, Joe.

(19) Sarah Goodman, October 29, 2008 10:15 AM

Come now. Don't wait any longer.

You are needed here in Israel. There is so much work to do here. If you are so talented, as I see when I hear your talks, you would have tremendous fulfillment in Israel. Your children would have the merit of living here.If you come when they are all grown up you may find yourself leaving them there in the galut. I am very grateful that I was able to commit myself to return in 1973 and now I have all my children, grandchildren and even a first great grandson living in Israel, all doing holy work and living a Torah life. Best wishes to you and your family

(18) Anonymous, October 29, 2008 9:14 AM

What is this all about?

If you love it there so much then GO! You can't recoup time lost. You either live in the NOW (as JEWS do) or stop living in the past and the future.

(17) Anonymous, October 29, 2008 9:05 AM

Thank you for the inspiration!

Dear Lori,
I cried my way thru your video because I could relate so well. Before I became observant and got married, I lived in Eretz Yisrael for a few years. Aliyah was always my greatest desire. Then I wound up becoming observant and marrying an orthodox rabbi. We are involved in kiruv which is great, but I, too, am always wishing that we were raising our family in E"Y. I just keep trying to speak to my children in Hebrew so they will be a bit prepared for that day when it comes, soon G-d willing.
Keep up the good work! You are a great inspiration to me personally!

(16) NIna, October 29, 2008 8:35 AM

Response to Mark 10/27

I'm so sad for you reading your words, and I want to let you know to really hang in there. I went to Israel and came into Torah on my own, without my family. When I came back to the US it was quite the difficult and painful experience. I found that eventually that struggle caused me to "own" my observance and Torah study in a way that really made it my own, and thank G-d, things are really different now. Everone's situation is different, but if you feel such sadness every day, try to find the answer to that within the Torah here. It's a beautiful thing to be in Israel, but Hashem is not limited by geography. There is the connection to Him and mitzvot everywhere. And there is the ability to serve Him with a full heart everywhere. I know how hard it is to do it on your own - just know you're not really alone, many have walked in your footsteps. Maybe try to find a support in someone else who is in the same situation. And also, the best way to feel better is to do chessed for someone else. Best.

(15) ettawiner, October 28, 2008 7:05 PM

Yasher Koach. I have the same sentiments. I hope you get back there. P. S. I think you rented our apartment in Har Nof for those 4.5 months.

(14) miriam, October 27, 2008 8:33 PM

I just felt you were talking about myself, that´s my life and I hope some day feel like you, by now It´s just so hard not beeing there

(13) mark, October 27, 2008 11:38 AM

Alienating

At 40 I came to Torah, but my family didn't take the trip with me. For seven years I've struggled trying to maintain emmunah but there are so many obstacles. My heart and prayers are in Israel but the more I think of that the more angst I feel. I can't even picture a scenario barring G-d forbid catastrophe for the Jews in the US were this can happen. I suppose I am not worthy, or does the inner turmoil I feel speak for me. Please Hashem bring on Mashiach bewcause there is not a day I don't feel like crying.

(12) Orrin Kom, October 26, 2008 4:23 PM

Is It a Question of Merit?

Ilan Pappe, Neve Gordon, and the Neturei Karta live or have lived in Israel. Do you believe that they "have the merit" and you don't?

(11) Rosen, October 25, 2008 6:37 PM

inspiration

Inspiration can sometimes happen by accident, where one doesn't know how much good he/she did for the other, after giving and teaching information they both need and want to hear. As we grow older, more people emulate us from our inspiration. I, in particular have been helpful to so many people by the tzedekah I donate to Jewish and secular organizations, as well as giving advice for people on how to pursue their career goals. Lori is correct when you bump into people who recognize you in the land of Israel, as it shows a similarity to our ancestors seeing each other at Sinai.

(10) Chanya, October 25, 2008 3:40 PM

Just be sure you don't let your ultimate goals slip away

Dear Lori, There is no question that what you do is very special holy work. And your being outside Eretz Yisrael has surely inspired many others to come here, and many others beyond that to come closer to Torah even if they don't come here. At the same time, "if not now, when?" With any goal in life, choosing to fulfill it "someday" will rarely get you there. Although, of course, things happen in the time Hashem sets for them, He is more likely to help them happen in a certain time period if we have set a goal. Having just made aliyah, I have taken your advice and thank Hashem every day that I am here. But being here, I can also say that, although, yes, you and your husband are both needed in the Diaspora, you are no less needed in Tel Aviv and Haifa. As sad as it is to see so many young American Jews who have lost the way to Torah, it is even more sad to see Jews who were born and raised in the land of our Ancestors and don't know Torah. Lori, we could really use you here. I pray that Hashem gives you the merit to be here soon, and that you take whatever steps necessary to be here, not someday, but by a date certain that you have set as a goal. Thank you for everything you do to bring Jews back to Torah!

(9) Brian Fischmar, October 24, 2008 8:10 PM

See Lori Live!

Lori, I enjoy your Aish.com videos. They are inspiring to me. Are you planning any trips in the Chicago metropolitan area? Thanks again for all of your videos. Shabbat Shalom. Sincerely, Brian Fischmar

(8) Shoshana Chana, October 24, 2008 11:58 AM

This Brought Me to Tears

It is so difficult to hear from you, my rabbi and various speakers that some people simply cannot live in Eretz Yisroel. My rabbi tried to console me by saying that the Chofetz Chaim never was able to live there, which only made me bawl harder! I feel the heart-wrenching pain every single day since I left from my NCSY trip nine years ago. I have never had the money to so much as visit since that time and it is even more expensive now that I have a husband and children. To make it worse, Israeli law states that we will not be able to make aliyah until a full YEAR after my husband finishes his geirus! This hurts us both immensely and all the more so on Shabbos and Yom Tov, which is when we should be happiest. Rebbetzin Palatnik, how do you smile through that kind of pain? I have smiled through the pains of poverty and deaths of loved ones, but this... this I cannot. Please teach me.

(7) pascale, October 23, 2008 7:55 PM

hang in there

BH Dear lori, thank you for another exquisite piece.I can totally understand you.I sincerely hope that this year will be the year all jews are reunited in israel, and that we will merit to live there!

(6) n ehrlich, October 23, 2008 3:32 PM

we will all be there very soon!

but Lori stop getting on yourself, last time it was about your name, now its on where you live?! your doing a great job!!! your one of god great people...

(5) Anonymous, October 23, 2008 2:53 PM

A very tricky question

This is a very tricky question. The halachic mandate for living in Israel is very clear. All too many North American Jews (and Rabbis, Rebbetizins, educators or other community leaders) are effectively deceiving themselves egregiously about the self-perceived necessity for not moving to Israel - they are "essential" to family members or to their synagogue or to their Yeshiva or their school or their community/congregation, etc. In truth, more often than not once someone has left their "essential" position, someone else is sent by Hashem to take their place. Despite this, the notion that this is only just up to us to make a decision for Aliyah and then execute that decision is also an equally false proposition. Hashem and his heavenly court make the dispositions for who makes aliyah. From the Baal Shem Tov and onwards, stories abound indicating that certain individual are not allowed by Providence to make aliyah, ultimately for reasons known definitively only to Hashem. Moreover, our Rabbis identify the land of Israel as one of the 3 things that can only be acquired through trials (& challenges/tribulations). Perhaps a compromise position is appropriate. Rebbetsin Palatnik has the right idea - maintain an active involvement with the goal of living in Israel and also be able to see it realized more immediately through others - set the example and then try to lead or facilitate others to reach there. My wife and I purchased an apartment in Israel some years ago (a great invtesment too, as recent external events have underscored). I too dreamed of moving to Israel more immediately. However Hashem has had other things in mind for us. In the meantime, my wife and I hope to use our Israeli home not just for us but also to introduce others to living (not just visiting or touring) in Israel. And we are also learning a lot about real life in Israel, from banks, to lawyers, to rental agreements, to Kablanim, etc. I said to my Israeli lawyer not long ago - I'm waiting for the helicopter (i.e. message) from Hashem to begin airlifting me out to our holy land. But until that time I must be content with my assigned position on the front lines in my shul and community. I only hope that I am fulfilling what it supposed to be accomplished in this assignment.

(4) feiv, October 23, 2008 1:25 PM

i know how you feel

how could you tape that without crying?

(3) malka, October 23, 2008 12:56 PM

inspiring

your message Lori is very heartwarming, especially when you see what your purpose is. It makes you feel better for being where are because you are doing what Hashem wants. I heard that the purpose of being in the diaspora is to spread Torah. BH, many people have accomplished this from the east coast to the west coast. May Mashiach come soon and gather us all of us in

(2) Anonymous, October 23, 2008 8:29 AM

Hope to see you soon

Baruch Hashem, I am living in Israel 32 years. May Hashem grant you the merit of living in Israel also very, very soon.

(1) Anonymous, October 23, 2008 6:17 AM

Are you sure that you are looking at things the correct way?

Lori, I watch you from time to time and in general I like what you say, however, when I asked my Rav if I had a hetter to live in Chutz La'aretz if I went into kiruv/chinuch he said "there is enough kiruv/chinuch to do in Israel". Also, I believe the Rambam says that in the time of Mashiach the Mashiach will be doing kiruv so I am not sure that that means that we can justify staying in Chutz La'aretz to do kiruv (meaning do we have an obligation to go everywhere to find every unaffilated Jew and mikarev him/her?). Rav Zev Leff mentions how many rishonim/achronim say that it is a mitzvah to live in Israel, is that mitzvah less than kiruv? I do not think that Aish should take people that want to live in Eretz Yisrael and ask them to do kiruv in Chutz La'aretz - they should look for people not interested in moving to Eretz Yisrael to do the chutz la'aretz kiruv and have people like you and your husband do the Eretz Yisrael kiruv. I welcome your response and have a good new year.

 

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