Today is Yom Haatzmaut (Israel Independence Day – aka July 4 in America). I just received the following piece in my email, I found that it accurately expresses the feelings Ricki and I had during the last week.
The festivities for Israel’s 65th Independence Day are in full swing. But
for us in Israel, before the hora dancing, the plastic hammers, and the
fireworks, there are the sirens. Two minutes of time to stand and think.
First, the siren goes off for Holocaust Memorial Day. It stops traffic. We
get out on the highway, eyes closed, hearts heavy. The scenes rip through
our souls: emaciated bodies in piles, starving children in rags, family
members ripped apart and sent to their death in factory-like settings
conceived by meticulous Germans with their talent for efficiency. We are
there, all of us, the devout and the atheist, dressed in black gabardine and
the latest Paris fashions, stuffed altogether into box-cars, locked in,
The siren seems to go on forever. Then it stops. We breathe again. We go
back to our normal lives, only to be confronted exactly a week later with
another siren, another two minutes, this time for Memorial Day for our
fallen soldiers and victims of terror. Every year the number grows. This
year it is 23,085 soldiers, and 974 victims of terror. Every single one was
someone’s beloved: a son or daughter, father or mother, brother or sister.
Someone whose death ripped a hole in the lives of so many who will never
stop grieving until the end of their days. Our soldiers, those strong,
beautiful young Jewish men and women with their whole lives ahead of them
whose promise was cut short not by accident, but by their conscious decision
to sacrifice their personal safety and well-being to protect and cherish the
precious dream that has finally come true for their people after thousands
of years. Without them, there would be no State of Israel, no place for
persecuted Jews to come to avoid the fate of every, single Jew in every
single generation since the fall of the Herodian temple in Jerusalem: a life
of persecution, fear, prejudice, helplessness and causeless hatred.
Our victims of terror: babies in carriages wheeled by grandmothers in the
park, elderly survivors sitting down with their families to Passover seders
in an Israeli hotel, teenagers riding a bus, young girls at a Tel Aviv night
club killed by bombs, knives, guns wielded by hate-filled strangers..
Two minutes. And then the siren’s chilling wail fades slowly into silence.
Night falls. We leave our homes and make our way to the center of town
where bands play joyous music and crowds line the streets, our heads
twinkling with flashing lights, waving flags. Soldiers and yeshiva boys,
grandfathers and young children join hands and dance with joy; young girls
in jeans, religious women with headcoverings dance the hora as the music-
Ashkenazi and Sephardi melodies brought from every Jewish diaspora- fill the
We look on, moving our feet to the music, our faces alight with smiles,
Ethiopian and Russian immigrants, American and British Olim, camera-wielding
tourists, all of us now Israelis, part of the largest Jewish community in
the world, a beautiful, blooming, thriving, young, hopeful, joyous nation,
whose people are among the happiest in the world, the youngest, the
smartest, the most hopeful. We are all, citizens of Israel, experiencers of
miracles. We have seen Divine prophecies come true, watched our country
swell and prosper with the ingathering of the exiles, ingenious new
industries. We have come home to our own land, and we have secured her with
our labor and our love and our sacrifice. And every year, for as long as we
live, we will stop twice and give two minutes each time to the blinding
grief and unbearable sacrifice which gave birth to our joy and in which it
is rooted, and then, we will go out and give thanks and rejoice.
God bless the land of Israel and her precious people. Happy 65th!
The following is a collection of my Heblish observations over the last several months, enjoy. Contributions of other pictures are welcomed.
Thank you, Joel.
The other is also a sauce
Where did the house go on vacation? Home Depot (Home Center in Israel).
I’m not even going to go there.
A number of months ago, we were visited by some very dear friends from the Old Country, we went to the Jerusalem Zoo. A woman was creating sculptures of Chimps, using steel wool. The Chimp was very cooperative.
As we were watching this, another Chimp came by to watch us.
Unpaid commercial for an excellent tour guide.