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How to Live Longer: By Shmuel Sackett

It’s official! The World Health Organization just released its “Global Health Observatory” report and Japan is the #1 country with the longest life expectancy on Planet Earth! Yey… I always knew sushi was healthy!! According to the report, people tend to live to the ripe old age of 83.7 in Japan. Switzerland is in second place at 83.4, then comes Singapore at 83.1, Italy is next at 82.7 and in 5th place it’s… Israel at 82.5!!!

I must admit that while my personal goal is 120, I’m sure that Israel surprised a lot of people with 82.5, since every time I visit America, people ask me; “Is it safe there?” My conclusion is that people who ask this question are intravenously connected to internet news sites, Facebook groups and Twitter tweets (is that the way you say that??). These online groups post every rock that is thrown and make it seem as though we play “Russian Roulette” when we shop for milk. Believe me, I don’t have blinders on and I realize perfectly well what is happening here but when all is said and done, the facts don’t lie and people live longer in Israel than in 99% of the world!!

In case you are wondering, the average life span in the USA is 79.3 which is 3.2 years less than Israel (that’s 803 less days of life!!) Hey, the USA is better than Russia (70.5) and especially Nigeria (54.5) but all kidding aside, 3.2 years less of life is a serious number… and it started me thinking.

I made Aliyah back in 1990 and for the last 26 years I have heard hundreds of complaints. People tell me all the time how the medical system is better in America. Yet if that’s true, why do people live longer in Israel than in America? My friends back in New York laugh at the Israeli school system, yet I will put my money 10 out of 10 times on an average religious Israeli kid vs an average NY yeshiva kid in a scholastic contest any day of the week. Note: If that contest is in Tanach (Bible studies), then I will mortgage my house to wage that bet!

I think what needs to be done is simple. We need to stop making lame excuses and start being honest with ourselves. Israel is not a backwards, third-world  country. We don’t use donkeys for transportation nor draw water from the town well. By now you know that Israel is a world leader in every field and that wouldn’t be possible if the people living here would be dying of malaria and drowning in swamps. So, please, let’s be honest.

Baruch Hashem, life is wonderful in Israel. Yes, we have our challenges, but who doesn’t? We need to look at the positive. At 7 years old, my granddaughter already speaks a better Hebrew than me… and I love it!! My daughter is about to move into a brand new apartment in Migdal Ha’emek – with 5 young, frum couples who bought apartments in that same new building – and that beautiful apartment cost her HALF of what a 2 bedroom apartment would cost in some old building in New York, Melbourne or London. My youngest daughter starts “Sherut Leumi” (national service) next year where she will spend an entire year giving to others in Shaarei Zedek hospital. She will not earn college credits nor go on fun trips but she will learn the priceless lesson of building a nation and contributing to a growing society.

The rat race of going to fancy camps and expensive Pesach programs needs to stop. They are not adding to your life one single day. On the contrary, I seriously believe that they are shortening it.

Dearest brothers and sisters, please focus and realize that we are in incredible times. After 2,000 years Hashem returned us to our land. This wonderful land is waiting for you to run on its streets and climb its trees (or take its elevators). There is nothing lacking here and I assure you, it is possible to move here and be successful. Don’t listen to the “Erev Rav” or “Yetzer Hara” who tell you otherwise. There are jobs here, fantastic schools, amazing communities to raise a family and a quality of life that will – literally – add 803 days to your life!

Remember the old story about the peddler who was screaming; “Who wants life?” and then told people that the secret was to avoid speaking Lashon Hara? Well, now we can add a PART II. One day, Shmuel Sackett was peddling his wares and screaming; “Who wants life?” and then he told the people that the secret was to… move to Israel!

I’ll be waiting for you at the airport.

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