siren standing yom hazikaron 311.
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
Around this unique window of time called Remembrance Day and Independence Day,
it seems like you can almost hear a collective release of breath from Israel’s
eight million citizens.
Got through another one, we think to ourselves.
This year especially, that sigh may be a little heavier, with the relatively
recent frenzy of activity fresh in our minds.
We’re just on the other end
of a divisive, indecisive election, with a government dominated by newcomers
finally in place; President Barack Obama’s milestone visit is behind us, with
its reassuring reconfirmation of deep friendship between Israel and the US; and
last week, we observed Holocaust Remembrance Day, which reminded us – as it does
every year – why the existence of the State of Israel is so
One event after another, constant overlapping, with no time
for reflection, a respite or a chance to regroup – that’s how Israel is, for
better or for worse.
“Life just kind of empties out, first the deluge
then the drought,” writes the great American lyricist Aimee Mann, describing how
our days can be full of blinding bustle, followed by relative calm, or even
In Israel, we don’t have that calm thing going at all. The
specter of Iranian nuclear aggression, the volatile northern border with Syria,
the ongoing conflict with the Palestinians, combined with growing economic
uncertainty, and all the other dynamic aspects of life here insure that the
coming days and years will not resemble a drought.
And forget about
solitude. In our in-your-face environment, one has neither the space nor the
luxury to take a step back and observe, or simply be quiet.
the doubleheader of Remembrance Day and Independence Day is so crucial to the
rhythm of the country. It provides that much-needed period in which we can
temporarily put aside the daily worries – whether monumental or petty – and take
stock of who we are, what we’ve accomplished and the painful price we’ve paid
along the way.
It’s a time to mourn our heavy losses shoulder-to-shoulder
with all of the families who sacrificed loved ones defending the country through
65 years of war and strife. And then, when we can mourn no more, it’s time to
celebrate our freedom shoulder-to shoulder with everyone out there, filling the
nation’s public spaces with barbecues, hikes and picnics.
revelry, though, don’t forget to listen for that collective release of
Maybe even join along, and cherish the opportunity to let it all
out and press the emotional reset in your mind.
Because as soon as the
holiday is over, you can be sure that the next deluge is right around the