Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Letter from Israel on her 70th Anniversary

I share with you the thoughts and feelings of our sister synagogue, Shira Hadasha in Arad, Israel.

Dear Friends and Family,

In approximately three hours, we’ll be walking to the entrance of the city to take part in the Arad Memorial Day ceremony. It is  one of the most impressive ceremonies that I have ever attended. It totally reflects what life in Israel is all about. 23,645 Israelis have lost their lives in defense of the country. 50 of them are from Arad. Each of them will be remembered individually. Fallen soldiers are considered children of all of us. 

At 20:00 (8 P.M.), sirens will go off all over the country and everyone will bow their heads and stand at attention. All traffic will come to a standstill. The same thing will happen tomorrow morning. All school programs will be dedicated to this. 

All regular TV and radio programming will cease and all shows will be dedicated to stories about these soldiers lives. This next 24 hours are very difficult for all of us. 

The tradition in Israel is that we follow a day of intense sorrow with one of intense joy. Israeli Independence Day begins exactly 24 hours later. It is heartwarming to see how so many people have decorated their houses and cars.  Marvelous celebrations take place all over the country and many people have bar-b-ques.  Many Army bases are open to the public as well as all National Parks. 

These two days, as well as last week’s Holocaust Day, always make me remember why I made Aliyah and have lived here the past 44 years.