Benji Lovitt has written his fifth annual "What I love about Israel" list - this year with, of course, 64 items.
A few years ago, I wrote my own list, 13 things I love about Israel. I'm not as funny as Benji but here they are....
1. Felafel with cheeps and charif and pickles. Mmmmmm....
2. Walking on Ben Yehuda on Motzei Shabbat.
3. Watching kids play in parks that are full of ancient artifacts.
4. The whale sculpture in Old Jaffa.
5. Seeing Israeli kids riding the buses, hanging out, running around, just being kids and speaking Hebrew!
6. Spotting the blue paint in Tsfat.
7. Bumper stickers!!!!
8. The grottos of Rosh Hanikra, especially when the water levels are really high....
9. Watching the faces of first-timers when they really do float in the Dead Sea.
10. Reading Rachel's poems at her graveside.
11. Knowing that the young men and women carrying those big guns are Jewish kids ready to defend their homes and families.
12. Feeling Shabbat as it comes into Jerusalem...the frenzy of activity
followed by the lovely calm. (And the shuk - rugelach and tomatoes and
hummus and pita and spices and oranges and.....)
13. Feeling like I'm coming home.
Happy birthday, Israel. May you be safe and healthy and proud.