Monday, May 2, 2011

Remembrances and Celebrations
Today in Israel is Yom HaShoah. While the world celebrates the death of one mastermind terrorist, Osama bin Laden, we the Jewish people remember man's inhumanity to man. Six million Jews were murdered in cold blood. Why you ask? For no other reason than they were Jews.

The Nazis marched from town to town, city to city, country to country rounding up Jews. They didn’t ask if you are Orthodox, Conservative, or Reform. They considered us one people. JEWS!

This is a lesson for today.

We are one people, G-D’s chosen people and we must never forget this.

Next Monday, on the 5th day of Iyar [May 9th] is Yom HaZikaron. Our Memorial day for the men and women who lost their lives defending our precious country. Yom HaZikaron is usually on the 4th day of Iyar but because of Shabbat the day before, the government moved the remembrance up one day.

The remembrance starts Sunday evening with a two minute siren. A second siren will ring Monday morning during which Israelis stop everything including driving and stand in silence, commemorating the fallen and showing respect.

The official ceremony to mark the opening of the day takes place at the Kotel [Western Wall], at which time the flag of Israel is lowered to half staff.

Monday evening, our flag is once again raised and Israelis everywhere proudly sing our national anthem. It is now Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, commemorating its declaration of independence in 1948. This year we are celebrating 63 years of independence.

And celebrate we do with flags hanging from balconies, cars, and windows. The smell of bar b’que is everywhere. Families travel to our national parks to have picnics and a wonderful day is had by all.

For me and my family, living in Eretz Yisrael is both an honour and privledge. Yes, many have to give up the so called good life in the 'old country', but I can tell you from personal experience, life in Israel may be a struggle but the personal satisfaction that you receive walking it's holy streets  and living on percious land gives you a much better life.
COME HOME and enjoy the good life!

Several years ago, I wrote a short poem called OUR FLAG.
Our flag, our flag
oh, what a sight!
To see you proudly
dance in the wind.

Your blue and white colors
so very distinctive,
makes us grateful
we live in this wonderful land.

Our history is long,
many wars we have known.
May the Hand of Hashem
watch over our brave young soldiers,
as they diligently defend your honor.

Oh flag, oh flag
What a proud and beautiful sight!

Israel's National Anthem
HaTikvah ("The Hope")
The words to Israel's national anthem were written in 1886 by Naphtali Herz Imber, an English poet originally from Bohemia. The melody was written by Samuel Cohen, an immigrant from Moldavia. Cohen actually based the melody on a musical theme found in Bedrich Smetana’s "Moldau."

Kol ode balevav

P'nimah –

Nefesh Yehudi homiyah

Ulfa'atey mizrach kadimah

Ayin l'tzion tzofiyah.

Ode lo avdah tikvatenu

Hatikvah bat shnot alpayim:

L'hiyot am chofshi b'artzenu -

Eretz Tzion v'Yerushalayim.
As long as the Jewish spirit is yearning deep in the heart,

With eyes turned toward the East, looking toward Zion,

Then our hope - the two-thousand-year-old hope - will not be lost:

To be a free people in our land,

The land of Zion and Jerusalem.

Until next time......