My Israel Story – ‘One people, one homeland’
'It is my home'

My Israel Story – ‘One people, one homeland’

Rabbi Moshe Kahn from Melbourne's DaMinyan, has visited Israel many times over the years - and his faith in love triumphing over hate remains strong.

  • With the bar mitzvah boy, Yoni Bergman, at the Kotel.
    With the bar mitzvah boy, Yoni Bergman, at the Kotel.
  • At Masada with Evans and Partners AICC delegation.
    At Masada with Evans and Partners AICC delegation.
  • Rabbi Moshe Kahn.
    Rabbi Moshe Kahn.
  • Rabbi Kahn hugs the lead commander of special forces unit, Shayetet 13.
    Rabbi Kahn hugs the lead commander of special forces unit, Shayetet 13.

SINCE the age of 13, I have been blessed with the annual privilege of visiting Israel. I fondly recall my first trip for my big brother’s wedding. As my dear mother, a passionate lover of Israel, and I got off the plane, we walked down the steps and she kissed the ground. That moment left an indelible impression on me, making me realise that Israel is not just another country, another piece of land, it is my home. As a 13-year-old boy, I promised myself that I would always come back and visit.

Over the years, I have been privileged to witness the miraculous transformation of our beloved homeland. Each visit unveils a captivating evolution of the landscape, reminding me of Israel’s captivating beauty, sacredness and resilience. Every trip is unique and special, each with its own story.

One particular memory stands out when I was studying in yeshivah in Kiryat Gat, while my sister was in Jerusalem. We planned to celebrate the festival of Lag b’Omer in Meron and spend a day or two in the mystical city of Tzfat. However, miscommunication left us stranded without a place to stay, each one thinking the other had something sorted. Amazingly, three strangers sitting near us overheard our conversation and invited us to their homes. The incredible warmth and hospitality of strangers turned around the situation, and we were humbled by their generosity.

Undoubtedly, one of the most remarkable experiences in Israel is Shabbat in Yerushalayim. It is an ethereal and transformative occasion where the bustling city slows down, enveloped by a profound sense of peace and spirituality. The captivating melodies, enchanting candlelight and collective devotion of the Jewish people create an awe-inspiring atmosphere that touches the soul.

Among the most poignant moments of a recent trip was the Friday night walk and dance at the Kotel. Surrounded by fellow worshippers, the air was filled with prayers and heartfelt songs, fostering a sense of unity and belonging. It was a deeply moving experience that connected us to our ancient roots and allowed us to feel the vibrancy of Jewish tradition and faith.

During one of my visits with a delegation of businesspeople, I wanted them to experience the energy and thrill of dancing and singing together. We formed a human chain and immersed ourselves in the melodies sung by Chassidic Jews, allowing ourselves to be transported back in time. Later, we danced with young international students and a group of holy soldiers, embracing one another with camaraderie and love.

Exploring Israel’s rich history is a journey back in time, and no visit is complete without venturing to historical sites like Masada and the Dead Sea. The majestic fortress of Masada stands as a testament to Jewish courage and resilience, leaving a lasting impression. The breathtaking panoramic views and the unique buoyancy of the Dead Sea offer an unforgettable and rejuvenating experience.

While walking around in the heat, a dear friend from our delegation asked, “What’s the secret of Jewish survival? I would have thought it would have all ended.” I replied, “We are a family with a higher calling, united – nothing can take us down.”

During my visit, I had the privilege of meeting individuals from various walks of life, from business leaders to military personnel, journalists and politicians. Each person’s unique story touched me, but it was the encounters with ordinary people – the unsung heroes – that inspired me most. From our bus driver to the Arab waiter at the King David hotel, our discussions enriched my journey and reinforced my belief in ­coexistence.

The camaraderie and dedication of the Australian Evans and Partners business delegation, participants on the Australia–Israel Chamber of Commerce (AICC) mission, left a lasting impression.

I am grateful for the opportunity to have connected with such remarkable individuals, as well as the bravery and sacrifice of the soldiers who defend our nation, reminding us of the importance of standing strong and united in the face of adversity. One special moment during our visit to an elite army base stands out in my memory. Meeting some of these holy soldiers, who are willing to give it all up for the benefit of our homeland, left a profound impact on us. Later, during a dinner celebration, one of the soldiers came to visit and in that moment, we realised the power of love over hate and the importance of focusing on what unites us rather than what divides us.

On my very last trip, while celebrating a dear friend’s bar mitzvah, I had the opportunity to meet some members of the Knesset. Despite roadblocks and demonstrations, I felt a deep connection with the locals, knowing that we are all brothers.

I offered to put on tefillin with one of them, and the warmth and smiles shared in that moment spoke volumes. From all my trips and journeys to Israel, I have learned that there is more that unites us than divides us. We are intrinsically one family, one people, with one homeland.


How to participate:

  • Collate 10 to 15 high-resolution images from a trip to Israel.
  • Email with the email header MY ISRAEL STORY, and include your FULL NAME, MOBILE NUMBER, and HIGH-RES IMAGES from your selected trip.
  • One of our journalists will be in contact to find out more.

Terms & Conditions: By participating in The Australian Jewish News’ My Israel Story, you grant The AJN full rights to publish your name and images for the article both in print and digital formats.


read more: