A friend of mine who recently made aliya to Ramat Beit Shemesh recently commented to me how different life in Eretz Yisroel is from what life in his old (and my current) neighborhood is like. I asked him to explain what he meant more specifically and here is what he said:
As far as the community being different Dixie - hmmmmmm. I'll give you an example:
When I walk by the batei midrashim in the mornings, there are tons of Yidden who are devoting their entire mornings to learning. People who were "modern" in the States, are here learning until 1:00 and then going to work. This alone is unique, and changes people completely. And that is just the mornings!
The batei midrashim are thriving at night, B"H. There is so much learning going on, it's so geshmak. When I walk to Shul in the mornings, you can see ladies at the bus stops, on mirpesets, davening. Granted, there are places where it's not like this, but it's wonderful.
I've found people to be much more serious about their learning, families, yahadus, tefillah. Shabbos table conversations seem to focus on kedushas eretz yisroel, how to help yidden here, Torah ... I'd say, to sum it up, people are "in the zone".
And with respect to the children, I feel there is a beautiful innocence here with the children - it may have to do with the fact that it seems Mothers here spend alot more time with the kinder. You don't see housekeepers with kids here - you see mothers with kinder, B"H.
Also, there doesn't seem to be as much gashmius - no gameboys or PSPs or fancy clothes etc... It is much more in the way of pashtus (simplcity), and that's why I mentioned [that children's favorite pastime here is playing] marbles, as an example.
I'm new here. Perhaps the contrast just stands out to me now, and will fade. IY"H, I Hope not!
Update 12:30 PM: B"H, we have a diamond in Woodmere - Rebbe pushes us all to new heights. But I'm finding here that watching the Avodas H of others is very motivating. Woodmere has this too, as does Far Rockaway and probably numerous other places in the US, but this is Eretz Yisroel, and so many yidden are just so plugged in.
Just a few examples, the number of women that flock to Rebbetzin Kanievsky just to be around her light. Friends of mine here who take days to go to kevarim up north just to daven and do hisbodedus. Friends who go to various places to toivel in maayanim. Yidden going to kever Rachel and chevron erev rosh chodesh. It's Kadosh Dixie - it just seeps in.
(Picture of Ramat Beit Shemesh courtesy of Panoramio)
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