Is Israel a desert?

Years ago, a British comedy skit—possibly Monty Python—showed a valiant knight crossing over from “Europe” (Greece) into “Asia” (Turkey), on his way to the Holy Land. As soon as he crossed the Bosphorus Straits, he found himself knee-deep in desert sand dunes. This is a typical, and highly amusing, illustration of the common European (and generally Western) perception of the Middle East.

Remember that the Children of Israel spent forty years in the Sinai desert waiting for the chance to enter the Promised Land—which was “a land of milk and honey”. They wouldn’t have struggled so much to make the journey if it meant simply arriving at another desert…

Continue reading


Is Hebrew a useful language outside Israel?

In Jewish communities—especially at the synagogue—Hebrew is enormously useful, because the prayer books are all in Hebrew, as are most of the blessings (all, that is, apart from those from Aramaic, which is written in Hebrew characters). People also like to pepper their emails or conversation with the occasional Hebrew word.

Continue reading

Q&A: How do you say “In God we trust” in Hebrew? Does the meaning change at all with the translation?

בה׳ מבטחנו – be-adonai mivtaḥenu.

Devout Jews might prefer to say

בשם מבטחנו – bashem mivtaḥenu.

The meaning is much the same: it literally means “In the Lord is our trust.”

That said, you won’t see it inscribed on Israeli currency, as it is on US currency.


(See this and other answers to this question at