Monday, April 19, 2010

Remembering with a smile

I entered the Central Bus station in Jerusalem to get on the bus to take me home to Shilo. It was the evening before Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day), a few hours before the sirens went off to signify the start of this most difficult of days.

I admit that I find this day very difficult, as the feelings start to set in before the sirens, before the torches, and before the start of the ceremonies. I suppose it is very hard for Jews outside to feel as we do here. This pain, this hurt, this contemplation takes everybody back in time. We go back to the stories we heard as children, then we reflect on our days of youth in the face of terrorism and wars, we remember our days in the Army, then reserves, we remember the not to distant past, the last decade, years, months and finally days. We reflect our own experiences, our own battles, and wonder.

We swell inside, sometimes smiling at the memories of our friends and families, and then fight to hold back tears because we miss them, and we know that this is not the end of the fighting.

It is a day of intense emotions, to say the least.

I looked around me in the crowded station, and as the thoughts started to cloud my feelings, I realized that I was living the dreams and prayers of so many before me.

I was looking at Israel, at who we are, and how we get there. No ceremony, no Ultra Zionist speech, no Flag waving. I was surrounded mostly in a sea of olive drab uniforms, with a rainbow of berets on their shoulders. The pins and unit ID’s on their uniforms shined proudly. They smiled, they laughed, they grabbed each other like they haven’t seen one another in years, but in reality it was only a few weeks. They are all so young.

Standing out was the amount of kippahs, as much as a spectrum of colors as the berets, like never before, but not separate from the non observant, together with all, no barriers, just pure camaraderie and dedication and strength, what strength.

I went in to the Synagogue to pray and observed Am Yisrael sitting together, all ages, all colors, from all over the world, Civilians, soldiers, guests.

I am sorry that I cannot put use words to describe my feelings of pride, of strength. I was standing ten feet tall looking at our children, looking at our soul. I thought of all the Jews outside of Israel, especially those that enjoy criticizing and speaking against us, that I meet, and felt sorry they could not see this.

My bus arrived and as I boarded, I realized the present I was just given, I saw Am Yisrael today in Eretz Yisrael today, in Medinat Yisrael today. Sure, we have our share of problems, maybe even more than our share, but over here in our little Israel, we are made of good stock, strong character, and a strong people.

I smiled again, and felt even stronger, when I thought about how I was looking at the worst nightmare of our enemies, may they never sleep soundly again!

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