One of the reasons my blog has "gone silent" for days has been my involvement in the Netivot Chicago program that I am doing. As referred to in previous posts, there are 18 kids who have now arrived from Chicago to finish off their 10th grade studies here in Israel with classes and tiyulim. While their plane was delayed by almost two hours upon arrival in Israel, at least they made it here! NO volcanic ash disrupted their travel, BH. We hit the ground running and have not stopped! If you wish to follow our adventures, please check out NETIVOT 2010 on Facebook for a journal and pictures of the group!
As I write this it is Yom HaZikaron...another first for me: First time I am in Israel for Remembrance Day. The day began with a siren last night at 8pm to mark the beginning of the day. TV and radio show interviews with families who have lost loved ones in battle and in terror attacks. The country has a somber feel today as people greet each other with a little less enthusiasm. Estimates are that tens of thousands will visit 43 cemeteries around the country during this period of national remembrance. In about 2 hours, there will be another 2-minute siren, at which point the country will once again come to a complete standstill to honor its fallen soldiers and its terror victims. I can not but help thinking of all those whom I have personally known that we will remember today. And then, the mood will shift tonight with the beginning of Yom HaAtzmaut...a national day of celebration. A day on which the country joins together to celebrate its birth in May 1948/ Iyar 5708. I have watched this transition in Chicago for years, but the significance obviously HERE will be much different. There are celebrations planned for all over the country tonight and tomorrow. I plan to be at the one here in Maale Adumim. I am sure it will be a wonderful day, B'ezrat Hashem!
In honor of the coming of Yom HaAtzmaut, there are flags literally EVERYWHERE you look! People hawking them on the street, hanging in windows, from balconies, on cars, etc etc etc. It is a beautiful sea of blue and white. I am reminded of the words of the Rov (R Yosef Dov HaLevi Soloveichik) who said that he sees three colors on the flag of Israel: Blue, White and RED. The red being the blood on which this country was built...the blood of its fallen soldiers. How appropriate to think about today, on Yom HaZikaron.