The bitter, and the sweet

*Tonight marks the start of Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial/Veterans’ Day. Tomorrow night will be Israel’s Independence Day, Yom HaAtzmaut. Here’s what’s going through my head right now.

It’s already somber outside. You can feel it oppressively smothering everyone.

And there’s still 20 minutes to the preliminary siren, bringing the next 24 hours to the fore.

Tomorrow the “real” siren will sound, calling everyone to a halt, to stand at attention, to remember, to commemorate, to never forget.

As if we need a bone-chilling, two-minute long reminder.

As if walking down these streets every day isn’t enough.

As if knowing, in the deepest recesses of my heart, that every single person i know in this country – has lost someone. Parent. Sibling. Child. Friend.

Tomorrow, for two minutes, the country will stop.

Two minutes is too long, but also not enough.

There is no siren that ends the next 24 hours. Just fireworks and the smell of grilled meat. Oh, the irony.

And instead of standing still, we move – we tour the country, we hike, we meet with family and friends. We drink, and eat, and drink some more, and maybe get sunburned too.

We dance and sing, and wave our flags.

We relish our culture, our country, our heritage, our home.

But this dichotomy happens every day. All the time.

For the next 48 hours we separate them, divide them, distinguish the two.

It’s hard.
But i wouldn’t have it any other way.

#HappyBirthdayIsrael

Veterans of a Different Sort

It was Veterans’ Day yesterday in the States. Which meant absolutely nothing was different and you can go about your lives, citizens.

Which is kind of sad.

In Israel, Veterans’ Day is a national holiday. People are excused from work and many companies consider the day lost, because half of their employees need to leave early because schools and day cares end early that day. Continue reading