Category: Stories

The BOMAH Story Spot: Lightricks with Eran Yacobovitch

Seeking to make an innovative change, five friends chose to pause their studies to pursue a dream. While studying Computer Science and Image Processing in the PhD program at Hebrew University, they discovered there was a gap between research in the academic world and what was available in the market.

After the discovery,  Zeev Farbman (CEO), Amit Goldstein (CFO), Nir Pochter (CMO), Yaron Inger (CTO) and Itay Tsiddon (Director of Business Development) founded Lightricks.  Shortly after, Eran Yacobovitch joined the team as Lightricks’ Marketing Analyst.

eran lightricks

Well known for their photo editing apps Facetune and Enlight, Lightricks is producing the next generation of content creation tools. Founded as a bootstrap company, they needed to ensure their venture was profitable from the start. Launched in early 2013, Facetune was Lightricks’ first app, and at the time of their launch Facebook had just released the Mobile App Install ad objective. An amazing opportunity to acquire new users and capitalize on their paid application business model, Lightricks built a marketing strategy focusing on country- based burst campaigns.

Beginning with no budget, they invested 500 dollars into Facebook advertising. They were able to optimize their campaigns, and reach top ranks in multiple app stores. The duo quickly learned that this was a great opportunity to acquire new users with the best ROI, so they continued to invest most of their profits and scaled with Facebook – a strategy that is still in place today.


Soon, both Facebook and Apple recognized Lightricks’ accomplishments, the company scaled and Facetune quickly became the fifth most sold app in the AppStore, reached #1 in over 128 countries and was one of Google’s best apps in 2013 and 2014.

In March 2015, Lightricks released Enlight, the most powerful suite of image processing tools on mobile that was recently named as Apple’s App of the Year for 2015. Later that year, Lightricks received an investment from Carmel Ventures that allowed them to scale and make their vision come true faster. The talented team is currently working on 4 new apps, all in the field of content creation on mobile.

We sat down with Eran to get the inside scoop on Lightricks, and pick his brain on Facebook advertising strategies:

1.What’s your ultimate mission?

“Our goal is to provide mobile users with all the necessary tools to create and edit mobile content. We’re currently working on four new products, all centered around content creation and editing on mobile. Aiming to empower the creator in everyone, we continue to deploy research grade technology to create an ecosystem of mobile first creativity tools.
2.What do you love about living in Israel? What do you love about the startup culture in Israel?

“Born and raised in Israel it’s hard to imagine myself anywhere else. I grew up in Tsfat, and never thought I would move to Jerusalem. University is what originally brought me to Jerusalem, and Lightricks is what has kept me here. Jerusalem is the perfect place to found a startup in- there are organizations like Made in JLM that help startups grow, and foster communities, and the city itself is calm enough to allow entrepreneurs to channel their energies to their ventures.”

3.How do you use social media to reach your audience?

“We give our users value with our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter pages. We’ve found that Facebook is the most effective platform for our goals, and we use the platform consistently to increase our user acquisition. I love the accessibility of social media. Every user has the ability to contact their favorite brand, and we can effectively communicate with our audience and help them better understand our product.”


4.What are your top Facebook Advertising tips for startups?

  • “Test, test, test. Channels, targets, creatives, prices, etc. You’ll never know what will work best. That’s pretty much our marketing department’s motto.”
  • “Don’t always settle with the currently available tools. It’s not always the easy thing, but if you have the resources and you think you can do it better, build the tools that fit the way you work.”
  • “Be sure to use all available ad types: Image ad, video ad, carousel, and others.”
  • “Instagram proves to be a very good channel – check it out.”
  • “Keep yourself updated with relevant blogs, pages and users. Online advertising and Mobile App Advertising in particular are very dynamic and ever-changing realms.

5.What’s one thing no one knows about your business?

“Our best hidden secret is our garden. We have the best office garden in Israel, and we invest a lot of time and money in maintaining it. Some of our many plants are tomatoes, strawberries, herbs, passion fruit, and many species of flowers. Each month we send an internal newsletter to the staff explaining a new aspect of the garden to them!”

Read more about Lightricks’ Facebook accomplishments here:

Want to join Lightricks’ team? They’re hiring:

The BOMAH Story Spot: ZORE


Born and raised in Jerusalem, Yonatan Zimmerman, Co-Founder of ZORE, is no stranger to gun usage. Like all Israelis, was drafted into the Israeli Defense Forces when he was eighteen. He served in a special forces unit, where he spent his days and nights in the West Bank and Gaza.

“During my military service I witnessed friends getting injured. Some were accidents. My best friend took a gun out of storage, thinking that it was empty. He accidentally pulled the trigger and almost shot himself and another commander. This made me think; and I began to wonder how guns could be safer.”



Zimmerman set out to work on a solution for gun safety and gun misuse, and in collaboration with Yalon Fishbein, Zimmerman’s partner, ZORE was born as a way to find safe and effective solutions to this international issue.

Most smart guns embed technology inside the gun, drastically changing the product, and making guns less reliable. ZORE is revolutionizing the industry by adding 21st century technological advantages, without changing the mechanics of the gun itself.

Their main product, ZORE X, an external device, is a patented cartridge that locks to the majority of semi-auto guns. Once the gun is unlocked, ZORE X will be ejected upon charge, offering the quickest way for guns to be loaded. ZORE X connects to owners’ smartphones, and alerts gun-owners by phone notification if any attempt has been made to move or unlock their firearm.

“We believe in guns; if they’re in the right hands. We use 21st century technology to help our customers become more aware and responsible.”

The ZORE team uses Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter to connect with their target audience through joining online conversations and forums. Their niche market of gun owners, weapon instructors and journalists, are very active on social media, and Zimmerman explains that it’s a great way to hear consumer feedback, and get free PR about their product. “Social media is a democratic arena, anyone can express themselves and share their opinion”








We sat down with Yonatan and asked him a few questions about his life in Israel, and more on ZORE:

1. How does Israel inspire you?

“In Israel, we experience ongoing terror; we live this reality everyday, so the need for firearms as protection is common. As Jews and Israelis, we value life and safety. ”

2. What is ZORE’s ultimate mission?
“Our goal is to bring 21st century technology to the weapon industry. We don’t want to change the mechanical way guns work, but with cutting edge technology, we can turn the standard gun into a more reliable and safer firearm.”

3. What’s one thing no one knows about ZORE?
“Although everyone on the ZORE team served in elite units of the IDF, we all come from different backgrounds. We’re customer-oriented, and we started our mission with a different direction. Instead of focusing on one problem and building a product specific to its solution, we really evaluated our consumer’s needs and went from there.”

4. What do you love about living in Israel? What do you love about the startup culture in Israel?
“My grandfather dreamed about living in Israel, and I think about how lucky I am to live in this amazing country daily. Israel’s accomplishments in the past sixty years are remarkable! The startup ecosystem here is like a small family. It’s packed with talented, intelligent, and experienced people eager to help one another without expecting anything in return.”

Watch more on ZORE here and support their Indiegogo campaign:

If you’re interested to learn more about their products, fill out their customer questionnaire.

The BOMAH Story Spot: InVision

In 2007, Nadav Reis traveled to Israel for eight months to study at Yeshiva. Flash forward to 2016, and that eight month trip still hasn’t ended.

During his college years, Nadav’s built-in entrepreneurial spirit led him to open a tee-shirt printing company, his first taste of creative design. After officially moving to Israel, Nadav became a freelance web designer. Completely self taught and having honed his skills based on client needs, Nadav quickly became a Photoshop and Illustrator pro.

After years of doing web design in Israel and “meeting some of the most awesome people in the world,” Nadav connected with Clark Valberg, Co-Founder of InVision, a platform taking the UX design world by storm. Nadav’s creativity and persistence led him to his current position as InVision’s Educational Partnerships Coordinator. Nadav is in charge of building and maintaining relationships with accelerators, startups, universities and professors.

“Most people don’t dare to dream, but when you do, things do happen; it does work!”

InVision’s social media presence is top notch. Their newsletter is sought after, and they’ve built strong both B2B and B2C communities. Nadav explains they use Twitter to connect to their users, and also keep an eye on what’s going on in the design world. Nadav explains “Social media allows you to have access to other people …it makes the world a very small place.”

We sat down with Nadav to learn more about his story and to discover more about InVision:

How does Israel inspire you?

There is so much history here, Israel is the land that we’ve been given, and it is a place people want to be. I feel very fortunate to live here and be part of the history. As far as Israel’s technology scene, it is a very exciting time to be here. Our tiny country is booming, and the world is looking to us for future technologies.”

What’s one thing no one knows about InVision?

Everyone at InVision works remotely. We get to hire the best talent globally, and work with people with extensive experience. Right now we’re at 200 employees, and we’re growing fast. 

What’s Invision’s ultimate mission?

Clark Valberg and Ben Nadel, InVision’s founders, created InVision to build an interactive platform to combine mock-ups and portray the look and feel of using the app. Their mission is to cater the platform to the design process, and provide their users with the tools they need to build the product they want. From the whiteboards used for the initial brainstorming stage, to their new service, Inspect, which will allow the user to hand off the design to developers to help them code, InVision is truly an all-inclusive platform.

What do you love about living in Israel? What do you love about the startup culture in Israel?

I love the closeness of everyone in Israel. Everyone I meet is very open and willing to help, and it is very easy to build connections and relationships. Everyone is like one massive family!

Learn more about Nadav, Invision and design everything by visiting

Happy 2016 From The BOMAH Family!

Bomah 2015 Review4-page-001

Not Ashamed; Proud

[su_intro]I used to hate my name.[/su_intro]

I would get red as a tomato when the nurse called my name at the doctor’s office, brutally mispronouncing it (I’m pretty sure some of those nurses were legally illiterate), and I would cry when the stupid little boys in my class–who i revered so much just for being boys–would tease me and call me yi-FAT. I hated introducing myself and even worse, spelling my name out to someone new.

Now, just so you understand, I was a scrawny little kid…there was absolutely no reason for me to be ashamed, aside from the fact that my name was different and weird.

I hated my parents with all my guts for giving me such a stupid name, devoid of all sense and reason. Didn’t they know that in order to get around in the real world, I would need a NORMAL name. I mean, I was thankful they didn’t name me Shai Weener (yes, I actually know a kid named Shai Weener), but still! And not to mention, everywhere I went–with the name “Yifat Hadas Kadosh”–people would know exactly who I was.

My name shouts to the entire world that I am a Jew.

…And I was unbearably ashamed of it.

Only upon coming to Israel did I for once feel normal.

This country celebrated my holidays! It revolved around my world. Now, I’m not coming from an egocentric perspective, but simply from the notion that for a “wandering Jew,” it feels SO GOOD to finally come home.

I am my forefathers; I live in exile, as they did, and once I finally made it back to the promised land, I realized what I had been missing that entire time. Our bible, and, in fact, our entire culture revolves around this crazy, desolate, astonishingly-magnificent land regrettably placed possibly on the worst real-estate–literally in the middle of a warzone. What is so damn amazing about it that actually manages to maintain 2000 year’s worth of constant conflict, then??

From a Jewish perspective, it’s the fact that all our history is here. It’s headquarters for the Jewish people; it’s the one place you can go and without a doubt always run into someone you share blood with (besides Brooklyn, obviously).

I actually feel included here, like I’m a part of something bigger. When I see the cranes up in the sky, crowding the skyline and warning of another building’s reign, I get excited and think to myself, “I get the privilege of seeing it all be built.” When I learn in class about our Jewish ancestry–about how my father’s father came here on his own by ship/foot/train, and how both my father and mother fought in the Israeli army–I feel totally included, and I feel inclined to give back.

It’s such a small world here, and it’s such a young country. In order to build it up, everyone’s gotta give a little, then.

And in fact we have, making us “the start-up nation” and a leader in many categories (which I definitely won’t be able to name off the top of my head right now…)

All in all, when I’m here, facing the rest of the world seems no challenge. Because I’m involved and proud. And ultimately, that’s what allowed this great nation–and now nearly 66-year-old country–to survive for so long.

Me, Myself and the Art of Storytelling

[su_intro]When introducing myself to the world and explaining what defines me, my introduction is usually rather formulaic; and since who I am and what I do are invariably linked it goes something like this…[/su_intro]

“Hi my name is Ariela Carno, I am 23 years old, I’m female, Jewish, proudly South African and a medical student. I have a passion for Israel and student politics, and I have the privilege of functioning as National chairperson of the South African Union of Jewish Students. In addition I am also a drama teacher”. Consider this introduction the equivalent of an electronic handshake.

In essence what you probably gleaned from this is that I have varied interests (or you think I’m mildly schizophrenic); however this month I am going channel these interests by putting my time and energy into working for BOMAH in the capacity of Public relations and content management.

What exactly does this entail you may ask, and why am I doing it? I applaud you for asking these two admirable questions because the “what” and the “why” are the fundamental queries one must ask in order to understand any situation-particularly the multifaceted world of Israel’s media relations. Regarding the “what”-there is a common misconception that in order to “help” Israel one needs to either donate large amounts of money or vociferously advocate the case for Israel through sprouting a copious amount of tedious facts (that nobody will remember), with a degree in political science, middle eastern studies and conflict resolution to back you up.

Now don’t misunderstand me-it is incredible if you feel passionate enough about this field to obtain a degree in “Middle Eastern studies” or “conflict resolution” however there are other ways to tap into your passion for Israel. Spending a mere five minutes on the social media platform of your choice, putting your fingers to a keyboard and writing about your personal experience in Israel can help showcase what an incredible place Israel actually is. This is owing to the fact that while it is difficult to relate to data and statistics you are a living, breathing individual and it is your stories, emotions, likes and dislikes that people want to read about. So please don’t deprive us of your words. Send us your stories so that you can place your own personal brand on Israel.

In terms of “why”

I believe being proactive regarding Israel is so important-I truly, honestly believe that if you are capable of doing something you have the responsibility to do it.

I strongly believe that if something is important to you, you will find time in the day to do it (even if it is done in those snatched moments between meetings) .I also believe that as a member of the Jewish people Israel is an integral part of my identity-an essential part which I cannot (and do not wish to) deny.
All that being said “stories are some of the oldest and grandest of human pastimes” and I look forward to meeting you through yours.

I’m Back Again

[su_intro]I stepped off of the plane and whispered to myself, ‘I’m back again’. I was one of the last passengers off the airplane and as I walked up the jetbridge, I gave a little eye to the Israeli security agent. Her beautiful brown hair and fierce but friendly face forced a small smile from me.[/su_intro]

This seemed to remind her of her function and she doubled back towards me.

“What are you doing here in Israel?” she asked.
“I’m here to see my brother, Larry.” I answered with a smirk and an air of derision.
“When will you go back?” she asked, knowing well now that I was not a threat.
“I don’t know yet. I’m a flight attendant.”

With a smile and small look downward, she revealed that she knew she had lost this amicable standoff. I continued through the airport looking for more signs of heightened security, but I only found the familiar beautiful ceiling fountain in the central terminal of Ben Gurion. I was surprised how quickly they let me out of the airport onto the street, free to get in and cause trouble. Set free on Israel without even one interrogation at gunpoint.

Leaving the airport, I realized I might be in for some rhythm problems, as I had not slept on the plane. Nine hours of being forced to sit still was the perfect time to read and watch movies, not time to be wasted sleeping. And now I had arrived bright and early in the morning after blasting past the sun at nearly the speed that it was moving the opposite way. So, instead of dealing with finding the train into the city, I opted for the no-hassle straight shot of the taxi.

I took out the scribbled paper and told my brother’s address to the driver. Eventually we were in accordance and on our way to King George, Tel Aviv. En route, I experienced my first language barrier in a long time. The driver turned around and tried to speak to me. But, my spotty knowledge of the Hebrew alphabet and remnant memory of prayers did not exactly permit communication with the hairy cab driver.

I wanted so badly to get ‘the scoop’ and have my first real interaction in Israel. Instead, I sat in silence and wondered what the driver could have told me about the curious territory we were passing through. So at that moment, I determined myself to learn a spit of Hebrew during my time in Israel. But, the 60s-style Hebrew rock ballad matched my spirit of optimism about my upcoming adventures and I was forced to sit back and relax.

The taxi pulled up to Kibbutz Leni. It didn’t look like much from the outside, but I could tell that good times were had there. There was a young Australian guy in green running shorts standing around who was immediately friendly to me. We made friends and decided that during my stay we would invent better and better handshake routines. He gave me a quick rundown of his opinion of all the places to eat and then said he had to run, but he would see me later. I took a quick nap soon after, and when I woke up my brother had arrived back from work.

Here we were, brothers nearly 7000 miles away from our birthplace, in the Land of Milk and Honey.

I was taken on a whirlwind tour and introduced to what seemed like endless bright and welcoming faces. It was like being inducted into a club. My brother had spread excitement about my arrival and everyone quickly accepted me as a member. That night we went out to participate in some karaoke. The streets of Tel Aviv were dirty, but safe. The Bauhaus buildings were a familiar but more exotic form of the tropical style I was used to in South Florida. And, the cafes and spirit of bohemia far surpassed that of Brooklyn. Late at night, the city reflected a friendly neighborhood vibe versus the fast-moving day. This was the city that represented the Jewish spring revival and entrance into the modern world. Here, the Jewish people were living life in the sun, enjoying the new comforts of life, representing an old people. It is an old, new city.

After a quick spat of fun in Tel Aviv, Larry and I decided to scoot over to Jerusalem for Shabbat dinner. We made the last bus over and arrived shortly before sundown. We found our way to the building of some acquaintances of my brother and I was overcome by the friendly scene of Shabbat dinner with my new Jewish friends. We drank and talked all night, and every person’s contribution shone of sophistication, interest, and friendship.

The next day, Larry and I ventured into the Old City. We became lost on the way and rerouted through Mt Scopus. We were racing to meet the walking tour on time and sweating profusely by the time we arrived. We discovered just how tough it would have been to siege the city running uphill from the Northeast. The formidable walls of the city were then looming over us as we searched for an entrance. We high-tailed it through the smooth-block, narrow alleyways and up and down the stairs. People of a far more conservative nature than us peeked at us from their lives wondering what could require such hurry on Sabbath morning. The group was just leaving when we managed to join it and received an excellent guided tour of one of the holiest and most important cities in History.

On the tour I met a Dutch girl and the both of us decided to stow away for an adventure since Larry had to return to work. The next day we met an Austrian kid and invited him along as well and he decided to be our driver. We rented a car and began navigating our way to the Dead Sea. We disregarded our GPS and began driving off road through the mountains. Incredible crevices and cliff-faces surrounded us as we navigated the curvy roads. Through the clearing appeared a city in the desert with a large percentage of green to it. This, we realized was the oasis city of Jericho.
At the sight of Palestinian flags on the buildings, I thought to myself that we had made a grave mistake.

I then asked both of my friends if they were Jewish and I was nervous to learn that I was the only Jew. But, we drove through the city and the people did not look radical as they drank coffee and smoked shisha outside of restaurants. So we went out to explore and found they spoke English quite well and were extremely hospitable and nice. After exploring some ruins we were on our way cruising down the coast of the Dead Sea. I found the water to be miraculously buoyant, but quite painful and made a vow never to enter again without goggles.

After swimming, we continued our journey south. We were disappointed to learn that Masada was closed at the time we arrived, but we found a mountain and we hiked up just before sunset. The three of us consumed a bottle of wine as the night darkened and then gazed at stars, tossing rocks off the cliff, hearing them splinter and crash to their new homes below where they might lie for thousands of years.

We dropped the Austrian back off in Jerusalem and the Dutch girl and I began our drive back to Tel Aviv.
I was deeply exhausted at this point, but my spirits lifted at the specter of visiting my father’s old friend, Joe, down in Eilat. The son of a Pulitzer Prize winning writer and American expatriate, it was certain to be an enlightening experience. On the bus ride down to the corner of Israel, one can really get a feel for the landscape of the Middle East. The light, welcoming beige color of the mountains and dunes are deceiving; they have been there for a long time, and are not going anywhere no matter how much more developed Israel becomes.

I arrived at Joe’s semi-luxurious apartment. It seemed like it was kept stowed away from the world in a perpetual state of vacation. His place was one of the only constructions on an area of land just beyond the mega hotels. Under the slanted overhanging window of his elevated loft was a lagoon with a couple boats tied up. At the end of the outdoor hall of units was a beautiful boardwalk topped off with an infinity pool in perfect view of the setting sun and the Gulf of Aqaba.

Joe was brimming with hospitality. One more, young Jew enjoying himself in Israel was a confirmation to him of his strong allegiance to the Land of the Jews. He told me how he took a hiatus from law school at Columbia to serve in the Israeli Navy. He pointed proudly to the picture of him and his father aboard his Barak ship during the victory tour after battle. Joe and I spoke of literature and movies and I was impressed to learn that he was a writer and former producer.

The rest of my time there, Joe would continue to tend to his duties and keep his Internet followers informed of developments and evidence of reason to be concerned. We ‘geeked’ out most nights, sharing music and reading passages of our writings to each other. I even had the thrill of my life to participate in a Talmudic learning session with his father via Skype. Joe and I watched “Lawrence of Arabia” and marveled at how the both of us were a half an hour walk from the site of the Battle of Aqaba.

I finally settled on leaving, excited to return to the party that is Tel Aviv. I returned late at night and made my way back to Kibbutz Leni. Everyone was there, buzzing in wait for the fun of the weekend to start. I went out to purchase liquor to increase the merriness. On the way I discovered how quickly I had built a life on Tel Aviv. I was greeted and missed by the people at the grocery stores and bakeries next door, the sloppy guard at the mall was excited to see me again, and unfortunately for my brain cells, I was well received by my friends at the liquor store again, beckoned to taste their new arrivals. I certainly felt like I was becoming part of the community of the city.

When I got back to Larry’s room, I decided I would be taking a nap shortly in preparation for the parties to come that night. I looked at “The Epic Guide to Hebrew Grammar” and told it that one day soon I will know its contents in my head. I gazed towards the open window overlooking the park with its dogs roaming and kids playing, teasing each other with more advanced Hebrew than mine.

At Kibbutz Leni, we poured our drinks and gathered to see what makeshift costumes everyone had prepared for Halloween. The room was a vibrant scene of young Jewish kids from all over laughing and confirming friendships, all of us proud of our varying national identities but our one, strong common uniting theme: Judaism. We boarded the city bus and were on our way to the Florentine.

The following day, I sat on the stairs outside the building of my brother’s room and surveyed my experience in Israel. So many people had been so quickly adopted as close friends and cared for. This certainly felt like an important place to be. Israel was making moves, increasing the lot of the Jewish people. It made me think of Ernest Hemingway and Henry Miller in Paris in the early 20th century. Here we have another thriving community with the world watching. Here moves were being made within a framework of an identity. The fact is, there is no place a Jew in their 20’s belongs more than in Tel Aviv. That’s where the real opportunity is and that’s where hundreds of thousands of Jews are waiting to be your brother and your friend.

The Jewish Valentine’s Day

Every summer there is a chance for those whose February 14th plans just didn’t work out to redeem themselves: Tu B’av. This minor Jewish holiday taking place on the 15th of the month of Av is a holiday of love and essentially the Jewish Valentine’s Day.

I had never heard of Tu B’av until last year when my boyfriend mentioned it to me, though admittedly we didn’t really celebrate because he was away working at a summer camp. This year however, he and I are in Israel together and I was looking forward to celebrating.

In Jerusalem, there is a “Two B’av” festival on Emek Refaim that he and I were planning to go to together. However as often happens in life, things get in the way. He ended up having to travel to Haifa this week to work and see some family, so I was disappointed that we would not be together, again, on Tu B’av.

Little did I know that he was not planning to let this holiday go unnoticed again. While away, he had been texting my room mate to find out my schedule and when I would be in our apartment. All the way from Haifa, he had roses, chocolates, a teddy bear and a card delivered to me in Jerusalem.

It seems fitting that my first real Tu B’av celebration would take place in Israel, and while my boyfriend and I were not able to be together it was nice to have him with me in spirit.

Next year in Jerusalem… together this time.

Brittany Ritell is a student at Brandeis University currently in Israel for her first time. She participated in Birthright at the start of summer and is now a participant on Onward Israel.

The Beginning of Every Jewish Story

I gazed outside the plane window 30 minutes before we touched down on Israeli soil, and my eyes swelled with tears as my heart swelled with a mixture of devotion, love, and pride. This is my Moledet. It is the place where my mother was raised, where my parents met for the first time, and where my story essentially begins.

The last time I was here was eight years ago. I was eleven and I didn’t understand. From then until this summer, I always knew that I loved Israel. I knew I was a staunch Zionist, that I would challenge anyone to a historical debate about the claim to this land, and that I would defend its politics and people with everything I have. But I admit that I still considered myself somewhat separate, like I could never be fully part of it because I lived elsewhere.

Even now at the age of nineteen, I did not think the impact would be so radically different. But I was so wrong. I knew that from the moment my heart skipped a beat when I looked out onto Israel’s sacred soil. The first night I spent in Israel was a sleepless one. Among other thoughts that kept me up that night, was the one of my understanding that this trip to Israel could likely decide my future.

A few days later I visited Tzfat and Jerusalem. The feeling of being in these holy cities was indescribable. It was more enjoyable than floating in the Dead Sea or even riding a camel. Walking these cobbled paths was enough to bring joy to my heart. In these places I learned the true meaning of emotional and spiritual happiness, as opposed to intellectual happiness of my comfortable life in the States. Here I was truly home, with people who understood my culture, spoke my language, and valued the struggle and triumphs we share as Jews.

Coming from an observant home, visiting Israel on Taglit with students from very secular backgrounds, posed numerous questions in my mind. I will be spending the rest of my summer here in Israel, in the hopes that I will gather some answers.

But Israel is more and bigger than just my story. It is the beginning of every Jewish story – the land where the holy words of the Torah come to life, the land which G-d promised to the Jewish nation, and the land where after thousands of years of persecution, exile, and torment, a frail yet striving people saw a miracle realized. That miracle is realized every single day in this land.

Israel, A Story From Birth

[su_intro]Having been lucky enough to be born in Jerusalem, my Israel story started at birth – and it has continued to change me ever since.[/su_intro]

It is hard to explain what it was like growing up in Israel – the joy, anger, fear, sadness, happiness and pride were all emotions that the country, the nation, and the people of Israel all feel together. There seems to be a common understanding shared by you and your neighbors that you represent something much bigger than yourself. Therefore, when Israel succeeds there is a sense that all of its people have succeeded, and when it fails the entire nation weeps. More importantly, I believe that if I fail Israel, then I have failed much more than just a simple state – and that notion will forever inspire me to write a happy ending in my chapter as part of this nation’s celebrated book.