Posted by: Esther Abramowitz, Director of Student Life in Israel on 4/28/2009 3:55:00 PM
I watched TV last night for hours and hours. Once you start it is hard to stop. One story after another of fallen soldiers and people who have been killed in terrorist attacks. There was a beautiful and heartbreaking interview with Karnit Goldwasser. This is her first official Yom Hazikaron. She talked at Udi's grave about her life with him and the promise that she made to him that she would continue to live if he fell. That promise is what gets her up each morning. She said this is the first year that others will come to the cemetery to give her honor as opposed to her coming to honor others.
There were concerts at Kikar Rabin and at Binyanei Hauma in Jerusalem last night. Both were broadcast live. I kept on flipping back and forth. All of my favorite artists singing the most beautiful sad songs with no applause. This music is for sure a form of tefillah to me. People sing along, sway back and forth, know the words by heart & really listen to the words. There is great Israeli music on the radio today and tomorrow. I recommend that you check out Galgalatz, Israel's army-run pop music station, at http://glz.msn.co.il/.
Last night the one minute siren went off at 8:00 p.m. which opens Yom Hazikaron. There was another one today for two minutes at 11:00 a.m., about a half an hour ago. The siren rings all over Israel - in every city, on every street, in every home. And it happens every year. There is really no way to describe it in words. The entire country, soldier, civilian, sick, healthy, politician, kids, students, “religious”, “secular”, rich, not rich- we all stand at the same time in silence to remember those who sacrificed their lives so that we can be here today.
I just stood outside of my office in front of the Frank Sinatra Cafeteria and marveled at the beauty of the flowers, the chirping of the birds and the delicious wind on my face as I thought back to the day of the terrorist attack here almost 7 years ago.
Tonight is Yom Haatzmaut. Our 61st birthday! Crazy, right? I'll be at Shira Hadasha tonight as we transition with song from the saddest to the most joyous of days. It is a Havdallah of sorts separating and connecting the sadness from the joy. This transition from sorrow to joy embodies life in Israel in a visceral way like no other. It's one of the strange and beautiful traditions that binds me to this place. There will be fireworks and parties everywhere tonight. Tomorrow is a vacation day from work and the main activity of the day is “mangal” or "Al Ha'esh" which is a BBQ. The joke is that you can see clouds of BBQ smoke hovering all over the country. The entire country will be out in nature eating and celebrating. I can’t wait for the Fly bys of airplanes tomorrow morning. And then some serious Mangal hopping! (I start with my veggie friends and then move on to meat!)
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