For example, one of my sons loves yeshivah.
He happily ensconces himself there, including through a mass bout of covid-19 when he & his friends ended up quarantined there (and not even allowed out on the steps of the yeshivah) for many weeks.
(I end up mentioning him the most because his adventures are so compelling & fun to write about it—with his permission, of course.)
This same son also loves going around Eretz Yisrael, exploring with his friends the forests & bodies of water & deserts.
So throughout every break in yeshivah, he basically comes home between outings.
He & his friends walk, ride, and hitchhike to get where they need to go.
And he's witnessed the best Am Yisrael has to offer regarding fraternity & caring about each other.
An Erev Shabbat Emergency that Exhibted the Warm Heimishe Fuzzies of Am Yisrael
They finished their swim and, with a nice amount of time before Shabbat, they piled back into the car—which wouldn't start.
They tried all sorts of remedies, but nothing worked.
A Jew driving by noticed their dilemma and stopped to apply his charger cables to the engine.
It still wouldn't start.
After a while, they realized they needed to get going in order to make it to their yeshivah in Yerushalayim before Shabbat.
So they hailed down cars going anywhere north, and made their way in that fashion until they met a secular-looking Jew who offered to drive them all the way to the yeshivah.
But part way through, his wife called and said she needed to light Shabbat candles.
At that point, the boys realized that though their savior would arrive at the yeshivah before Shabbat, he would need to drive back on home on Shabbat.
And even if he didn't care, they needed to care and not be the cause of the Shabbat transgression of a fellow Jew.
So they assured him he could just let them out on the spot and they would manage.
Immediately after he drove off, another secular-looking Jew sped by, saw the yeshivah boys, skidded to a stop, stuck his head out the window, and hollered, "Hey! Get in the car! You have no time! It's almost Shabbat!"
"Where are you headed?" they asked him.
"What does it matter?! You guys need to GO! Get in!"
So they got in and made it as far as Kiryat Malachi (where the driver was headed anyway) and also the location of the yeshivah in which the brother of one of their friends learns.
The yeshivah boys in Kiryat Malachi warmly welcomed their 3 unexpected guests and provided them with showers, beds, plus meals & friendship for the duration of Shabbat.
Also, the yeshivah provided a particularly pleasant wake-up regimen.
The young man in charge of waking everyone up for Shacharit first knocked lightly on the door of each room, then went to each young man in turn, patted him gently on the arm and with soft-spoken cheerfulness said, "My brother, my brother! Wake up—tefillat Shacharit of Shabbat!"
When the sleeping bachur mumbled, "Okay, I'm waking up," the young man then said, "Ashrecha!—Happy & fortunate are you!"
And then my son and his friends somehow made it back to their car after Shabbat and somehow got back to their yeshivah (not sure of the details).
Let's Talk about the Truth for a Moment
One of the nice things about living in Eretz Yisrael is because of the ease, convenience, popularity, and social acceptability of keeping Shabbat, a lot of people do it—including people who don't look like they do.
Also, despite both the English & Hebrew media's insistent & consistent portrayal of yeshivah students as traitors & lazy parasites, a lot of people who aren't chareidi are still pretty nice to these much-vilified yeshivah students & other charedim.
And despite how charedim are portrayed (including in a lot of charedi media), many charedim are good people who go out of their way to be good to others.
And (with a few exceptions) I've also experienced quite a lot of achva (brother/sisterhood) since I've come to Eretz Yisrael.
Time after time, experience shows me that regular Jews naturally like & get along with each other.
Regardless of one's specific group or religious level, many Jews still feel connected to each other.
A lot of bad feelings actually emanate from media propaganda and/or a charismatic instigator.
In general, that feeling of "other," plus self-righteous anger & resentment comes from without and not from within.
Sure, individuals get upset with each other.
Yes, insensitivity & worse occur on the individual level.
We don't need denials or whitewashed portrayals.
But there IS genuine good out there!
And the genuine good that exists MUST be exposed.
In the general sense, as far as a group goes, people feel connected to each other much more than many bloggers, journalists, authors, scriptwriters, and news producers would have you believe.
And that's the truth.
This is a related post regarding my other older son:www.myrtlerising.com/blog/finkelshtayn-learns-to-hug-a-sephardi-ashkenazi-love-story
For other posts on this topic, please see: