Monday, May 09, 2011

I IS FOR...

I is for Israel...of course it is!!!
I didn't mean to live here. I didn't mean to get married and have children here. I didn't mean to step off a plane and know that I was HOME.

But all the pieces were put in place by my family. The Jewish elders in Windsor, my grandfather and his brothers included, decided to establish a Jewish School for their kids so they would know who they were and understand their heritage. In a city with only 750 Jewish families at the time, that was a smart move. So, from the age of about six I went to I.L Peretz Shule--- every day after school. I wanted to be a Brownie, but Bubbie Channah said, "Jewish children go to Peretz Shule." Period. End of discussion. Do not pass GO and do not collect your $200!

So, Mrs, Atkins would be waiting in her station wagon for me at the end of my school days, and off we went to pick up other would-be Brownies or Cub Scouts or Astronauts, or just kids who wanted to go home and play outside with their friends.

I went to Peretz Shule till I graduated at thirteen and returned my first year in College to teach there!!!

So, what does this have to do with Israel? Remember, this was in the early fifties. And every once-in-awhile, on a Sunday we would all fill the main room and watch movies. Little black and white reels of the newly established State of Israel! Men and women in shorts with white shirts , a hoe over one shoulder, a rifle over the other began building settlements and cities and then at night, since these were superhumanwonderful people, they would all dance the hora around a big fire and laugh and be happy. Well, I think they laughed and were happy since there was no sound.

I was fed on this new State of Israel with pride and love and awe. So, when my friend and fellow teacher told me she was going to Greece and asked me if I wanted to come along, I thought for about five seconds and said, 'SURE'. But, added that I couldn't get that close to Israel without going there.

My plan was to get the Israel part over first and then Yassoo Yassoo Yasso. "HaHA!," said God. "I don't think so!"

And, the rest is history.

I want all of you to come here and see my wonderful Israel...my unbelievable Jerusalem!

No one is indifferent to Israel. No one says, "Oh, it was nice." They either love it, or hate it. They either get it, or they don't.

So, here's the plan. Come and see for yourselves. But if you want a front row seat, come for three weeks in April/May. Spend Pessach/Easter with us and the original cast. Then a week later be with us for the twenty-four hours of Yom HaShoah...Holocaust Remembrance Day...then a week later stand with us for Yom HaZikaron...Remembrance Day for the fallen, which culminates in Yom HaAtzmaut...Independence Day.

Those three weeks are who we are. Today is Yom HaZkaron. Last night the country stood in silence remembering our fallen...fallen in war and fallen in terrorist attacks. We remember the Fogel family. We remember every person. Over 22,000! One channel prints their names and dates starting from 1948. It takes the twenty-four hours to go through those names. E very one has a name. Every one is remembered. All you can see on cable TV are either a blank screen or programs remembering.

We remember leaving Egypt. We remember our family who were killed in the camps. We remember our brave men and women who sacrificed all for a little strip of land and a big dream.

At 11:00 this morning there will be a second siren. And again we will stand at attention. One on Holocaust Day and two on Remembrance Day. All cars will stop. People will stand in the streets, in the hallways, in their homes...and we will remember.

And then tonight we go into Independence Day! Israel will go out again into the streets, but this time to party.Tomorrow the country will be filled with the smell of meat cooking on open fires as everyone goes out to mingle with family and friends and bar-b-que and enjoy each other's company.

How smart our forefathers. Only the joy of Independence Day could break the sorrow of Remembrance Day.

So, come. Visit. And maybe you will lose your heart to a little strip of land like I did.

Have a great day...stay safe...and thanks for dropping in.

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