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In Nissan we bless the blossoming fruit trees — Here’s Shmuel (Video)

It’s Nissan, the month of redemption,  and everyone is busily preparing for Pesach. But there is another important and very special mitzvah we do here in Israel in Nissan: The blessing of fruit trees in blossom.

Here’s a video of me in our garden at Villa Rimona ZImmers in Yavne’el making the traditional blessing over our Lemon, Orange and Grapefruit trees which are all blossoming.

The bursting forth of life in nature after the long dark winter parallels the spiritual potential during this month for us to break out of our own “prisons” to reach our potential as well as the entire Jewish people to be redeemed after 2000 years of exile.

This is the important lesson to learn as we prepare ourselves for the upcoming Passover festival which recounts the story of the Exodus from Egypt.

Have a Happy and Kosher Pesach!

Confidence in Future of Israeli Economy

My friend Yoram Ettinger just sent out a report on the long term confidence in the Israeli economy. When reading the international economic news, it’s quite jarring to see how well Israel is doing… pooh, pooh, pooh.

Here are some of the amazing stats he’s reporting:

1.  Israel’s economic growth during the last five years (21%) is higher than all OECD countries, other than Turkey. Israel’s economy grew 270% during the last 20 years, while Israel’s population grew 145%. Israel’s unemployment is the lowest ever – 5.4%.

2.  Israel is expected to become a net-exporter of natural gas by 2018.

3.  Intel’s exports from Israel – $2.2BN in 2011. Since 1999, Intel’s exports from Israel total $22.5BN.  Intel employs 7,800 persons in Israel – 10% of Intel’s global manpower.

4. In 2011 there were mergers and/or acquisitions of 85 Israeli high tech companies (27% increase over 2010) totallying – $5.1BN.

For the full report… check out

This is Your Life – Vintage 1961 Episode of the Veffer family

It was my father Jack Veffer’s (Yaakov ben Yonah) yahrtzeit this week on the 20th of Adar. He survived the Holocaust by hiding in Holland with his parents and five siblings for three years. After the war he moved to Canada and built a great life for himself and his family.

When I was a young adult and decided to make aliyah. I remember my father saying to me, “Where you are born is an ‘accident,’ you have to find your own place in the world.” Anyone considering aliyah should take those words of wisdom to heart.

My grandmother, Sara Veffer wrote a book called “Hidden for 1000 Days” about the family’s miraculous experiences in the war. In 1961, Ralph Edwards of This is Your Life did a television show about my family’s story. A replica of their hiding place was built on stage and the family was tearfully reunited with the Dutch underground workers and the family who hid them.

I decided to watch it this week, so I could see my young 35 year old father walking and talking again (he’s seated at the table 3rd from the left with the bowtie in the picture below). At the beginning of the film, it mentions the show was recorded on March 8, 1961 – exactly 51 years ago. For some reason I decided to check the hebrew calendar, and was chilled to discover that I was watching my father speak to me on Adar 20, 5721 – what would eventually become his Yahrtzeit day.

Enjoy the show… My sister and I are converting the book “Hidden for 1000 Days” to e-book format. Let me know if you are interested in a copy.

“Most Luxurious” Seafront Penthouse in Israel

We visited this amazing two-story penthouse in Netanya about 2 years ago while it was under construction. Here’s that video

It is custom designed and custom furnished, complete with outdoor pool, indoor sauna and every imaginable luxury.

Thought you might like to see how it turned out. Email me for more details.

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