By Shmuel Katz

I know I am a bit repetitive. Year after year I use some of this space to share the unique joy of being a Jew living in a land that is actually ours. Most of the holidays are our holidays. All of our holidays are its holidays. There is no way to describe the satisfaction one feels in not being an “outsider”–even an outsider that is welcome.

Last year I shared a terrific picture I took of the front of a city bus during the Aseret Yemei Teshuvah. This year, a friend (Ammi Dorevitch) posted a photo that I had to share. I don’t remember if this is the case in America, but in Israel, each egg gets stamped with the size of the egg and the expiration date (and often the hashgachah).

Ammi opened her case of eggs this week to discover that the producers had added a wonderful message to the stamps. No matter how many times I see it on the buses, in the mall, the supermarket, billboards, even the cartons that our soda bottles come in, discovering another incredibly creative way for one Jew to wish “Shanah tovah” to another is personally exciting.

Despite our differences–and there are many differences here–we have so much more in common with each other than I used to feel we had with our neighbors in the “old country.” The words might be slightly different, but we’ll go to shul next week as a nation, praying for many of the same things and knowing that it will come out for the best.

Despite our differences, we’ll wish one another a “Shanah tovah” and then a “Chatimah tovah” before we get to “Chag sameiach” and then “Moadim l’simcha.” In the winter, the only Santa in sight will be (ironically) in the Old City’s Christian Quarter. Otherwise, we’ll see chanukiyot outside home after home. And so it will continue throughout the year.

I find it cool that the egg producers took the time to add this wonderful message to their customers. The only thing that would have been cooler would be to discover that the chicken somehow did it.

And you can have this feeling too.

As we approach the first Shabbat of the New Year to be followed by Yom Kippur, I wish you a g’mar chatimah tovah. Let Hashem seal us for a year of health and simcha, a year of parnassah, and, most especially, a year of geulah and a year in which you join us here in artzeinu hakedoshah. v

Shmuel Katz is the executive director of Yeshivat Migdal HaTorah, a gap-year yeshiva opening in 2013. Shmuel, his wife Goldie, and their six children made aliyah in July of 2006. Before making aliyah, he was the executive director of the Yeshiva of South Shore in Hewlett. You can contact him at


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