I’m going to Israel for $0.00

The software company I work for is quite a nice place to work. They give me nice things like a $750 yearly tech allowance. 4 weeks of vacation. 1 week of paid training time. And $2500 for discretionary training.

Last year, I used those training dollars to head to Las Vegas for the Microsoft MIX conference. My company paid for everything while I was wined and dined by Microsoft. It was a great experience.

Vegas was fun, but this year I wanted to try something different.

I felt a real longing, this year more than ever, to visit Israel. My younger brother Aaron lives there; haven’t seen him in years. He married his bride earlier this year in Israel, and I was unable to attend the wedding for lack of funds; airfare alone costs around $1500.

I’ve long had a desire to visit Israel. I mean, as a Messianic, for years I’ve sung songs about Zion, prayed the prayers about the land. Every Passover we say, “Next year in Jerusalem”, but that has never come.

And I think it’s impossible to honestly read the Scriptures and have no feeling for Zion: It’s Messiah’s home. It’s the land of the Torah and the prophets and the apostles. Saturated in history of the patriarchs. It’s where God set his name, and where His plan for humanity will unfold.

Heck, the Psalmist asked, having been forcibly taken out of Israel,  “How can we even sing songs of the Lord while we are in a foreign land?”

Israel is the womb of all God’s doings in the world.

Back to the situation at hand:

When the time rolled around this year to use the company training dollars, I wanted this to be the year I finally make the trip. Could I find an official reason to visit Israel, with the company funding my trip?

I spent a few weeks looking up an official reason to visit Israel.

And I couldn’t find a thing.

Even though Israel is a world class technology hub, there’s really no great conferences for software developers like there is here in the US.

I decided to reach out to some Israeli software developers, including the guy I met last year at the Las Vegas conference.

They, too, didn’t know anything worthwhile. I reached out to a third Israeli software developer, well-known entrepreneur and prolific open-source contributor Oren Eini, of ayende.com fame. He runs the popular .NET document database, RavenDB, which I’ve used in projects like MessianicChords.com and Chavah Messianic Radio.

I explained my situation:

Hey Oren,

I mentioned I'm looking to attend a software conference in Israel. My company allows $2500/year for training. I want to use that to go to a software conference in Israel.

Honestly, I'm kind of looking for an official excuse to visit Israel, as I have family in Jerusalem that I haven't seen in years. I just need an official reason for my company to send me there. :-)

Do you know of any conferences or training in Israel?

He responded,


I am afraid that we don't have a conference worth speaking of in Israel.

Is this open for courses as well? We can do a RavenDB course in Israel, that way you can get your employer to send you for a course.

With a bit of back and forth over the next week, Oren arranged for an English-speaking RavenDB course in Israel in early June. Woohoo!

I checked with my bosses this morning; they approved this use of training dollars.

And with that, I’m going to Israel without paying a dime.

(Baruch HaShem!)

Many thanks to my employer and Oren Eini for providing the means.

I can’t wait!


  1. B"H. I personally went to Israel for free myself. I'm so glad that the Father has decided to bring you to visit Eretz Yisrael.

  2. God is good. Say "hi" to the Holy Land for me.

  3. Mazel Tov! It's an experience you won't forget. Blessings.

  4. By June they will bomb Iran....Just kidding....Have a great time!

    1. Ha! Hopefully no wars while I'm there. :-)

    2. One day, there will be no wars there at all, Blessed be God.

  5. I'm very happy for you! Much to our surprise & thanks to God, my family & I have had the chance to go to Israel 2 times in the last 2 years. What a place! The problem is, going there increases the longing for it. But, I guess that's the point - increased attachment to the God's land, city, Holy Hill, people, purpose/plan & to Him Himself.

  6. Very nice. Mazal tov, Judah. Now, you must blog your experience!

  7. A great blessing! Enjoy your trip, I did in January. Israel is His.