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  • Writer's pictureGedaliah Borvick

Musings From My Sojourns Down South

Rabbi Rakeffet's memoirs (OU Press)

I had an exciting and hectic trip to the Southern US, running eight Israel home-buying workshops in Georgia, Texas, Florida and Tennessee. Here are some thoughts that have been floating around in my head:

- I met inspiring people who have a deep yearning to create a meaningful and lasting connection with Israel.

- There is a certain freshness in many Southerners that is wonderfully wholesome. Although my workshop focuses on opening people’s eyes to the issues and challenges involved in buying a home in Israel, I hope they never lose that sparkle, never become jaded.

- Something about a petite woman saying “farshtunkina” with a southern twang brings an instant smile to my face.

- I encountered numerous people with a strong appreciation for their shul-centric communities. For many, their synagogues and its members function as more than a hub of religious and social activity; they serve as family.  And this model is what these people would like to recreate in Israel. Through the work of people like Rabbi David Fine of the Barkai Center for Practical Rabbinics, Israeli society is slowly realizing the tremendous potential that synagogues can play in their congregants’ lives.

- I took advantage of my many flights and read Rabbi Aaron Rakeffet’s memoirs, “From Washington Avenue to Washington Street.” It was brilliant and hysterical – kind of like Rabbi Rakeffet himself – and it made me appreciate the historical significance of the past two generations. I never thought that an academic’s memoirs would be such a “page turner.”

- I loved Rabbi Rakeffet’s non-apologetic, no-nonsense position regarding our right to the land of Israel: ”. . . Yet so many enlightened individuals do not start to comprehend our right to this Land. We have the best deed in the universe. It is the charge of the Almighty, recorded in the most basic and eternal document, the Bible. God declared to the children of Israel: “You shall possess the Land and you shall settle in it, for to you have I given the Land to possess it” (Numbers 33:53).”

- After reading this book, I was determined to educate people how we must appreciate the gift of Israel which the Almighty has returned to Jewish sovereignty for the first time in almost 2,000 years. Israel’s situation is far from perfect, but it is an absolute miracle that the country is flourishing - both spiritually and physically. And I feel fortunate that my work helps – in some very small way – to fulfill Moses’ promise in Deuteronomy 30:1-5 that the Jewish people will ultimately return to their homeland.

- With the onset of Chanukah, which commemorates the rededication of the Second Temple, may we rededicate ourselves to help unify and elevate the Jewish nation and our Jewish homeland.


Gedaliah Borvick is the founder of My Israel Home (, a real estate agency focused on helping people from abroad buy and sell homes in Israel. To sign up for his monthly market updates, contact him at 


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