Hello, and happy start to the week everyone!
About a week ago us Career Israelites met up in Jerusalem to mark the emotional Yom Hazikaron holiday here in Israel. It was a fascinating and eye opening experience, mainly because we spent it on some of the country’s most treasured sites, Yad Vashem and Mount Herzl.
We started the day touring around various parts of the museum and learning about all of the Jewish communities in Europe that were decimated in the Holocaust. We had interesting discussions and lectures on Holocaust Denial and watched an amazing video about a pregnant mother who survived the concentration camps (who happened to be one of the program participant’s grandmother!).
After our activities at Yad Vashem we went to Mount Herzl to view the IDF soldier memorial. This was very emotional because we visited many graves of those who died in their battle to defend Israel. At the end of the day, we went to a MASA event that was catered to remembering all of the soldiers that died while serving and victims of terrorist attacks within Israel. Again, this was a very emotional ceremony. However, it is an experience that will always be remembered by me because I’ve never experienced these holidays before in Israel.
Monday night and Tuesday, the sorrows turn to celebration as the country commemorated its 63rd birthday! This is one of the most happy and celebrated days of the year here, as people joyously mark the occasion of the country’s victory in the War of Independence. A popular Israeli tradition on Yom Haatzmaut is to have barbecues…… it’s like America’s July 4th! There are even fireworks around! Another popular tradition is to have street parties/block parties. I couldn’t imagine trying to drive on these days because there were so many streets blocked due to people celebrating in them!
I guess this was all significant because the two holidays being celebrated back to back shows me that Israelis are able to move on with their lives and be happy despite all the war and tragedy that surrounds them. Very powerful stuff I must say.
Looking ahead to this week is the Religion and State seminar in Jerusalem on Thursday……….. expect my reactions and some pictures from this event next week.
The last two months or so in Israel have been very eventful. Lots of Holidays, ceremonies, and commemorations………. things might be taking a breather now that Yom Haatzmaut is over…… but not so fast!
Summer is coming and this is a very eventful time all over the state where people are always outside, happy, and there are tons of concerts. So I cannot wait to see what lies ahead the next couple of weeks!
Take care everyone and have a great week!