My poor ulpan teacher felt like she had so much to cover and such little time to do it in. We spent some time translating parts of the Proclamation of Independence and she told us how the signers had to run around to the local cafes and borrow chairs (here is a GREAT description of that time. The details of that night are absolutely unbelievable). To think of Ben Gurion announcing the creation of Israel knowing without a doubt that it would mean an immediate war....
In the community center where I attend ulpan, they set up a table and backdrop covered in black saying, in yellow, yizkor and a group of six yarhzeit candles (one for each of the six million Jews killed in the Holocaust) and, separately, one candle [Holocaust Day here is noted on the day of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and I assume the separate candle was to note that]). As we moved closer to this week, photos and biographies of fallen soldiers and people killed in terror attacks were added to the display, and, finally, Israeli flags. It was kind of a balagan, but that seems to appropriately give over the mash-up of feelings during this week.
Nationwide one minute siren on Yom HaShoah.....Another siren at night on Yom HaZikaron (we were finishing dinner and had all forgotten that one was coming, leading to a few moments of panic).....Siren again (two minutes this time) during the day of Yom HaZikaron. If you haven't seen the videos of people stopping on the highway and standing next to their cars, I suggest looking one up. It's amazing. A friend told us that she was on the bus coming back from Jerusalem when the siren went off and the bus driver stopped and stood as did almost every other person on the bus (like everything here, it's "10 Jews, 11 Opinions" and there is pretty much *nothing* that everyone does).
Ulpan took us to a Yom HaZikaron program at a nearby boys' school. As a chardal school--chareidi-dati leumi--they try to find the middle ground of being both strongly religious and supporting the State of Israel. Not so easy, but they did a good job. The principal recited Kel Malei Rachamim and finished just as the siren started. Very moving....
After Ani Ma'amin, the students had a color guard flag performance (see what I mean about trying to find that middle ground?).
Penina, Ilana and I watched the live-stream of the big ceremony at Har Herzl last night, concluding Yom HaZikaron and starting Yom HaAtzmaut (as the Times of Israel puts it, the timing "ensures that the elation of independence is never far removed from an awareness of its cost"). Rita (super famous Iranian-Israeli singer) sang the song I hate to love, Yerushalayim Shel Zahav, while wearing a dress that had an enormous circular train that a whole light show was displayed on. It was pretty spectacular!
We saw fireworks last night, and, today, had a blissful day off. Without Sundays, the only days off tend to be when a major Holiday is starting that evening. It was great to just have a "regular" day off. We learned our lesson from last year and didn't try to go anywhere (worst traffic day of the year). Our day was super mellow--we baked for the Lone Soldiers Barbeque, had a BBQ ourselves, played cards, read books and I finished off the day by trying to make the heirloom family recipe "Geshnitna" in advance of Uncle Sydney's (!!!!) visit here Sunday (still working on the geshnitna, despite getting tech support from Chellie. Let's just say that, from the sample I nibbled on, you can tell I married in to the family....)
I leave you with a few photos Penina took that made us both smile (oops, the nail polish better go before school starts again tomorrow)
|at the burger restaurant....|
|flag was a gift from my parents when we made aliyah|