The Yoms

Seven months ago, our world shattered. No one knew which direction we were going to go, or what we should do next. Anger. Sorrow. Fear. Pain. Not much room for Optimism, or Hope. With broken hearts, we had to keep moving, to start from a defensive point. In Israel, it started with regaining control of the invaded areas by Hamas. Here, it was protecting our Jewish communities, and fellow congregants, supporting those who needed it. Then, we moved to offense, in Israel, the war initiated bringing back the hostages and restoring security. Here, it was to start condemning all those who forgot who we are. It’s a difficult battle, with multiple fronts.

Who would have thought that seven months later, we’d still be knee deep in these troubling times? With ongoing war and public statements that smell like Europe of 1930. When I started thinking about how we’re going to commemorate Israel this year, I had a hard time. I couldn’t even plan a week ahead, nonetheless months. I questioned how can we celebrate Israel this year, with all this pain, all this sorrow — not even starting to mention the 133 hostages.

It comes with a price. I tend to break more often. Some songs move me to tears, and I am not always positive. A few days after the October 7th attack, we held a community vigil and I said that even when it’s dark, we have to keep walking. That is still true. We pray that our children will never have to go to the army, but they will. We pray that they will never hear another missile alarm siren again, but they will. We pray our families will be safe. They’re not. But we have to keep walking, to believe that things can get better, and they will, eventually.

With broken legs, we get back up. With tear-soaked eyes, we look ahead. With a heavy heart, we start walking. And we move forward, one step at a time. Like with grief, we embrace the pain, understand that we lost people we love, and we need to continue to live.

For Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) it’s the same. We remember those we lost, and we are grateful for their sacrifice. We’ll celebrate the fact that we are here, alive, with our country and our freedom, and also the price we pay for that.

Gam Ve’Gam (this and that). This year we’ll say, “They are trying to get rid of us. Many have tried before. They will not succeed. Yom Ha’Atzmaut is officially a Jewish holiday.”

Am Israel Chai

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