Friends from abroad often ask me, “What’s it like to live in Israel?”

Especially during wars or trying times, people question, “Isn’t it scary to raise a family there?”

Of course, there are challenges, as with all good things in life. Indeed, our rabbis teach that the Land of Israel is acquired through tribulation.1

However, I want to share with you three of the main reasons I love living in Israel. My family and I made aliyah eight years ago, and my appreciation for the land continues to grow as I reflect on these blessings.

1. The Feeling of Being Home

What does it feel like when you walk out of Ben-Gurion International Airport? The clear Tel Aviv sky stretches before you; the warm air of Israel surrounds you like a cocoon. The palm trees wave in the breeze as if greeting your arrival.

To me and so many others, it feels like home.

In Israel, wherever you go and whatever you do is a Jewish experience. From shopping to using public transportation, you are bound to mingle with fellow Jews and learn something special about them in the process.

Our 12-year-old daughter Mushka often rides a bus to school. One day, she shared how the woman sitting next to her asked for a favor. She wanted Mushka to listen as she made a blessing over her drink and to answer, “Amen.”

Of course, our daughter did so happily, and the impressionable message of the power of blessings and the subsequent “Amen” has remained with her since.

Then there are the Jewish holidays, which are simply amazing in Israel. When winter approaches, the color scheme is blue and white and every color in between. We are surrounded by Chanukah menorahs and decorations that bring the festive atmosphere to highways and malls. Even the radio stations air familiar Chanukah songs.

Around Passover, the soda bottles have an attractive new design and bear the words, “Chag Sameach” (Happy Holiday)!

On Lag BaOmer, which marks the passing of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai, traditional bonfires illuminate almost every park and lot throughout the country.

And Yom Kippur is particularly heartwarming. The roads are car-free, as the sanctity of the day pervades all of Israel. White-clad Jews of every religious group mingle in the streets, wishing each other a happy and blessed year.

I am grateful that our children are growing up in an atmosphere where being Jewish is the most natural thing in the world, where we can feel at home among fellow Jews.

2. Miracles Are the Norm

Before we moved from Florida to Jerusalem, we called people living in Israel to get an idea of what to expect. Whenever we raised the issue of financial security, the answers became vague.

The line often repeated was: In Israel, G‑d’s Divine Providence is apparent. The numbers don’t always seem like they will work out on paper; but somehow, things miraculously fall into place.

We experienced this personally after we made aliyah.

We founded Chabad of Baka during our first months in Jerusalem. Building a community for new olim was exhilarating, but the budgeting presented its challenges. Fortunately, we saw G‑d’s assistance at every bend of the journey.

One month, on the day our payments were due, my husband noted that we were 400 shekels short in covering our shul budget. It didn’t take long for us to witness the overt Divine Providence that characterizes our land.

My husbandShe appeared at our door with 400 shekels checked his phone messages, returning calls to those he had missed. He dialed one of the numbers, and a woman answered in Hebrew. “Can I come over to repay a debt I owe to Chabad?” she asked.

We welcomed her visit, and indeed, she appeared at our door with 400 shekels, which she gave as a donation to our Chabad House in Jerusalem.

What was her story? The woman told us that her daughter was getting married in a week. The soon-to-be bride suddenly remembered that she owed this money to Chabad and wanted to take care of it before her wedding.

A year earlier, she had been traveling in Thailand and was pickpocketed. Desperately, she found her way to the local Chabad House. She was greeted warmly, and someone there gave the young woman $100 to tide her over until she could get more money sent to her.

Filled with gratitude, the Israeli girl asked for an address so she could return the debt. Her benefactor instructed her: “Just pass on the kindness and give it to any Chabad House in the world.”

And here her mother stood at our doorstep, a year later, with the exact amount we needed.

We tasted G‑d’s blessing to the Land of Israel: “Forever are the eyes of the L‑rd your G‑d upon it, from the beginning of the year to the end of the year.”2

3. Jewish Unity

One of the most special parts of living in Israel is witnessing the kindness and unity of our people. This is especially evident at the holy sites in Eretz Yisrael.

On our recent walk to the Western Wall (Kotel) on Shavuot, we were touched by the generosity of fellow Jews. At King David’s Tomb, drinks and pastries were distributed in abundance. Children offered books of Psalms as gifts to passersby. With sparkling eyes and smiles on their faces, they called out: “In the merit of King David!”

At the Wall,We were touched the generosity of fellow Jews young girls shared packages of homemade challah and treats, soothing crying youngsters and warming the hearts of all those present.

Walking to and from the Old City of Jerusalem, we saw hundreds of Jews. While the styles of dress and religious backgrounds were clearly different, the look of excitement and belonging in every pair of eyes was the same.

It is moments like these that fuel our love and passion for being here.

We pray for the time when G‑d will gather all Jews from around the world and return us as a nation to our beloved homeland!