Friday, April 20, 2007

 

HAPPY BIRTHDAY ISRAEL

The first time I came to Israel was in April 1975. It was the day before Yom HaAtzmaut - Israeli Independence Day - and it was Israel's 27th birthday.

Tuesday is, once again, Yom HaAtzmaut - and it will be Israel's 59th birthday.

What an incredible introduction to Israel that was. My parents' friends, Haim and Moni Glovinsky, came to my hotel in Tel Aviv and took me out to show me how Israelis celebrated. We walked through the crowded streets - people were hitting each other on the head with plastic hammers which went "ping" when they made contact - no, it didn't hurt at all - they bought me a hammer as a souvenir - we ate ice cream - and I was amazed to see soldiers holding machine guns stationed on the roofs of the buildings. It was a Yom HaAtzmaut I will always remember - but as an outsider - I wasn't part of Israel - I wasn't yet an Israeli.

Fast forward 32 years. I have been an Israeli for many years. I have the most wonderful circle of friends - and today I celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut differently.

But before we celebrate we Remember. Yes - Remember with a capital "R" - because Monday is Remembrance Day - when we recall and pay homage to our fallen soldiers. It's a very solemn day - very sad - very poignant - and we light memorial candles to honor our dead. And immediately afterward - we begin to celebrate our Independence.

It's really emblematic of our lives here. We have very high "highs" and very low "lows". We have always been in a struggle for our existence - and then we "pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again" - just as in the song.

So this year will be the same for me. I will light my candle on Sunday night and recall those who gave their lives for us. And on Monday night I'll go to the annual big party at Sally & Michael's house along with some other friends.

And on Tuesday - the annual countrywide barbecue. I'll be celebrating with Marallyn and her extended family once again. We'll begin barbecueing in the morning and only finish when there is no more room for one more morsel of food. Marallyn is a Canadian who married into a Kurdi family. (Kurdi - as in from Kurdistan) Kurdim don't know from green. And they certainly don't know from potato salad and cole slaw. Well - maybe an Israeli chopped salad, and some "salat hatzililm" (eggplant salad) and "hamutzim" (pickles and olives) - but that's it.

But meat? Everything you can imagine - and then some. And you want to know why I'm always on a diet?

Almost forgot - I'm going to Sarah's birthday party on Wednesday - and you still want to know why I'm always on a diet?

Yalla, Bye.

Rena

Comments:
Thank you! This was wonderful. I am so glad for Israel exists!! I truly do hope to visit one day...maybe when you are having a BBQ???
 
stop eating now...the meat is in the freezer...yahoooo
 
Leah here again. I dream of going to Israel one day. I admire you and am happy you get to celebrate Israel's Birthday. I am so sorry and sad for all the violence going on.

Leah

niclea16@evergreen.edu
 
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