Foreword by Adina Hagege

There’s no better way to preface a book of the Greenstone blogs than with important statistics and lots of numbers. The family made 235 posts during the 12 months that span their trip to Israel: 87 posts in 2008 and 148 in 2007. August, 2007 was the peak month, with 35 posts. They’ve had nearly 17,000 page hits (as of August, 2008). 9 blog titles include the word Shabbos (no Shabbat in any title). Just barely beating out the mentions of Chanuka (misspelled every time!), which had 6 titular appearances. All in all, there are about 15 references to the various holidays (Yom Yerushalayim counts). But just 2 families make it in to a title. God does not appear once, so it’s hard to be insulted when you’re in such good company (Hagege is not one of the families with a star appearance).

Important data, all that. Lots of numbers to measure and count.

But here are the real statistics.

No number of words can possibly capture how much the Israel-based Greenstones enjoyed having the Greenstone, Jr family here in Israel. No number of memories can attest to how significant this year was for them, for their children. No number of blog posts can possibly capture the impact that this year had on them.

And that’s because there’s something infinitely exquisite, eternally special, unaccountably impressive about living in Israel. And the longer you spend here, the more it seeps in to who you are. Israel is about reviving Jewish history—and you feel it every day you’re here, even just doing the mundane. The Greenstone’s e-account illustrates that to us: so much of their life takes place around history. The very place they lived, Modiin, was the home of the Macabim. Their regular visits to the Kotel are a throwback to what was, 2000 years ago. Their walks through Ein Gedi resonate with David (the king, not the Greenstone) fleeing from Saul. Biking from Kiryat Arba to Jerusalem—OK, may not be how the forefathers made it down to Mearat HaMakhpela, but definitely part of that feeling of history. Snorkeling for the famous blue in the (not-so) deep blue lends the mitzvah of tzitzit a vibrancy it never previously had. (Of course, evenyaruka reminds us that Israel is also about the challenges of living the Jewish life. Dealing with a bureaucracy that may not do things optimally. A laundry machine that never works effectively. Lice that crawl on your head, cockroaches that crawl on your toes.)

Because a year in Israel is more than just a year. It’s a lifetime and possibly an eternity.

I have to confess that my very favorite evenyaruka post is “The world is a toilet.” But another of my favorite posts is “Best time of year to be in Israel.” I think that the Greenstone’s got it right: there’s nothing like the period marking our freedom, leading up to our achieving our independence. But I think that the Greenstone’s also missed a post—“Best place to spend your life.” Or maybe they didn’t. Because the blog itself is about just that: a testimony to Israel as the best place to spend your life.

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