The Human Spirit: 59 more reasons why I love Israel

51. YOU can buy an alarm clock that sings "Modeh ani lefanecha," the Jewish wake-up prayer.

party 298.88 (photo credit: Courtesy)
party 298.88
(photo credit: Courtesy)
1. ABC's Good Morning America chose Jerusalem as one of the Seven Wonders of the world, and they were right. 2. There's more to unearth. King David was the first king to rule Jerusalem, but his palace was only revealed in the City of David this year. 3. JNF forest rangers remained in the forests to put out fires while Katyushas were falling. 4. Twenty-five thousand volunteers helped replant the forests that did burn. 5. Six thousand spunky Israelis who left their homes during the war pretended they were vacationing on the beach. 6. While Intel Haifa workers were working in an underground shelter, Intel announced the new multi-core processor developed there. 7. During the Lebanon War, a northern kids' butterfly center was moved to Tel Aviv. 8. Russian-speaking immigrants in the Haifa shelters offered hospitality to the American tourists who came to show solidarity. 9. We ask tourists why they don't move here (even when the bombs are falling). 10. Banners on tourist buses reveal where the tourists hail from because we care. 11. OUR national bus company Egged was named by National Poet Chaim Nachman Bialik. 12. We have a national bus museum which features a bus called the Tepele (a pot in Yiddish). 13. The Children's Museum in Holon offers a program on experiencing blindness. It's booked months in advance. 14. In the archeological park in Caesarea you can ask a virtual Baron Rothschild questions, but he won't give financial tips. 15. A rabbinical couple in Caesarea offered seminars on how to get through Pessah without family quarrels. 16. A school in central Israel offered an afternoon class on how to steal the afikoman. 17. A cheese called "blintzes filling" is marketed only before Shavuot. 18. Voice over Internet protocol (VoIP) allowing us to speak internationally without phones was pioneered in Israel. 19. Two hundred thousand Israelis communicate without phones by lighting fires and singing in Meron on Lag Ba'omer, also pioneered in Israel. 20. Pizza parlors and felafel stands put up booths for Succot. 21. NOT JUST oranges. Researchers are developing edible flowers that look like marigolds and taste like radishes. Go figure. 22. You can buy kosher sushi in Jerusalem's Mahaneh Yehuda. 23. We send SMSs in the language of the Bible. 24. Youngsters routinely travel to the cemetery at Kvutzat Kinneret to visit the graves of poet Rahel and national song laureate Naomi Shemer. 25. The driver in the horse cart in Kvutzat Kinneret sings Naomi Shemer songs for tourists. 26. Aviv Matzot exports its unleavened bread to Egypt. 27. We have sex symbols named Yehuda Levy and Pnina Rosenblum. (Thank you reader Carol Clapsaddle.) 28. An Israeli start-up wants to turn our ubiquitous olive pits into fuel. 29. An Israeli stand-up comedian turns brit mila into humor. 30. A diamond salesman from Bnei Brak invented a computer program to identify the handwriting on Torah scrolls in case they're stolen. 31. NEWS Web sites graph the daily level of the Kinneret. 32. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert reportedly came up with the name for the popular romantic comedy Pretty Woman. 33. Beersheba, capital of the Negev, has the greatest number of chess grandmasters per capita in the world. The town has cricket and rugby teams, too. Also a camel market. 34. Some of the fanciest wedding halls are run by kibbutzniks who rode to and from their own huppot on tractors. 35. The rise in matza sales is reported annually on the financial pages. 36. We turn our salty water in the desert into sweet peppers and mellow wines. 37. We're turning our southern shooting ranges into potato fields and exporting the potatoes to Europe. 38. Tourists from the South Pole arrived on Pessah and were puzzled that there was no bread in the supermarkets. 39. No wonder foreign coffee chains fail. Even in a Golan Heights strategic site you can get a cappuccino to go called "Coffee in the Clouds." 40. DESPITE the tensions and political dissension, Israel has the highest Jewish birthrate in the world. 41. Nine months after the war in Lebanon we had a baby boom. 42. Everyone in the park shares bags of Bamba. 43. Yad Vashem is so important there's no entrance fee. 44. Our pilots fought over the honor of taking part in the fly-by over Auschwitz 60 years after liberation. 45. A popular mall in Haifa features an art gallery. 46. Cafes offer delicious Israeli breakfasts all day long. 47. We carry gifts of soup nuts, jellyfish repellent, sandals and jewelry to friends abroad. 48. How many countries have a tourist program that lets you hunt for the snails to make your own blue ritual fringes like those in the Bible? 49. The IDF has developed Shabbat-friendly pens, telephones, computer mice, electronic gates, and even sensor-activated faucets and urinals. Hi-tech or low tech? 50. "Push the Button," the Israeli entry in the Eurovision song contest, will be performed by Teapacks, a group formed in beleaguered Sderot. 51. YOU can buy an alarm clock that sings "Modeh ani lefanecha," the Jewish wake-up prayer. 52. In America, Dora the Explorer speaks English and Spanish on TV. In Israel, she speaks Hebrew and English. 53. Our top Broadway star plays the nursery-school teacher in a series of educational musicals for preschoolers. 54. Hamburger joints serve matza buns on Pessah. 55. We're finally remembering to turn off our cell phones. 56. Sealy hopes to install an Israeli sensor in its mattresses to help control snoring. 57. We were always techy. A sophisticated steam room and bathing pool were uncovered on Masada in the middle of the desert. 58. The Red Sea resort town of Eilat is promoting a new birdwatching festival featuring laughing doves and Palestine sunbirds, also a belly-dancing festival. 59. "Hatikva" still gives me goosebumps.