Hello, I’m Yaakov Miller. This weekend I had the pleasure of staying with family friends in Efrat. They moved from my New Jersey hometown in 2004, so that made my stay all the more comfortable. On Friday, I visited the Magen David in Jerusalem, where I was able to help out at the blood bank. After that, I got my first view of the shook. The sight of masses of people shopping and looking around was overwhelming yet fascinating.
On Friday night, the son of the family I was staying with brought me to a B’nei Akiva discussion about stigmas in the different Jewish communities of Israel. Granted, most of the talk was in hebrew, but I enjoyed and generally understood it anyways. Shabbos day was unique for me as well. One of the lunch guests was an American who had been inducted into the Israeli Army two days prior. He answered my questions about the aliya process, gave me advice about yeshiva, and cleared up misconceptions about the language barrier. To cap it off, I took a nice walk around the community of Efrat- a walk that ubdoubtedly solidified my desire to return next time I’m in Israel.