And now, I watched through the window as these workers danced to the sound of the siren. My stomach tightened as I imagined them dancing on Kochava’s blood, dancing on the blood of those soldiers in Ramallah, dancing on my tears, and on the tears of those in the still streets below.
And as I watched them, my sobs of anger turned to sobs of despair: How can I talk peace with people who dance on our blood?
Later that evening, the town’s outdoor basketball court quickly grew crowded as my neighbors filled the stone seats around the court’s perimeter. The ceremony marking the transition from the aching pain of Yom Hazikaron to the exuberant gratitude of Yom Haatzmaut, also a uniquely Israeli tradition, was about to begin. The poignant transition is marked with prayer, song, and the daglanut, a creatively choreographed dance of the town’s teenagers, full-size Israeli flags in hand. As the sun set and the music of this year’s daglanut played, I watched these teenagers joyfully dancing, proudly waving their flags. I looked out at the audience of my inspiring Israeli neighbors, who just moments before were mourning the loss of their sons, and cousins, and army buddies, and the words of the ballad chosen for this year’s daglanut blared over the loudspeakers: “Sing for us a song, and send us light….”
I thought about the dancing I witnessed earlier that day, and about the dancing I was watching now. And I thought about my question of despair: How can I talk peace with people who dance on our blood?
The daglanut ended, children and parents cheered, the familiar sounds of Hatikvah and Ani Maamin, and then the sky burst forth in color, as fireworks erupted overhead. Once again the loudspeakers blared the words of another song into the dark skies exploding with light: “ Shimu Echai….Listen My Brothers, I am still alive…”
And as I looked at Yehuda’s eyes staring up wondrously at the fireworks, I felt comforted by the answer to my question: Our only hope lies in our emunah, our belief — and the hopeful emunah of this wondrous country seems to be as strong as ever.
Jennie Goldstein April 30, 2012
May we and Yehuda share, if not immediate answers, at least continued hopefulness, and finally the Redemption, when all questions will be answered, and little boys — and their mothers — can live without fear. When it will always be the right time to dance…
H/T to Ruti Mizrachi