By Rachel Sales, Masa Israel Journey Director of Alumni and Public Relations
In Amos Oz’s memoir, A Tale of Love and Darkness, he writes that the real reason his grandmother died was not a heart attack, but rather an “excess of hygiene.”
Having arrived in Jerusalem from Vilna, she “took one startled look at the sweaty markets, the colorful stalls, the swarming side streets full of the cries of hawkers” and spent the rest of life constructing defenses against her new country’s “pervasive sensuality. “
100 years later, Israel’s in-your-face quality is the country’s magic touch. It’s one of the reasons why Americans Jews, so used to their personal space and alone time, travel to Israel and fall in love with the country. At first jarring, Israel’s intensity forces individuals to wake up and live.