Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.
Israel received the coffins of Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser in exchange for the release of the brutal murderer Samir Kuntar, four Hizbullah terrorists and a number of terrorist corpses on the very day we went with our family to Latrun for our grandson’s graduation from basic training.
We were on the way to the Armored Tank Division base between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, close to Ramle, when we heard on the radio that instead of our missing, living soldiers, for whose safe return we had been hoping and praying, we were receiving their bodies. No doubt they were killed in the initial operation in 2006 and Hizbullah had been playing mind games with their families and our nation ever since.
So it was with heavy hearts that we entered Latrun, despite a semi-picnic atmosphere on that very hot July day. The families of the soldiers had brought food and drink and we had some time to talk with them before the official program began.
Our grandson Shmuel, 21 and married just three months ago, had earned his orange cap in the chilutz v’hatzola (search and rescue) unit, and we watched under the scorching sun as he and his comrades marched, presented arms, received their caps, etc.. This all led up to the singing of Hatikvah, our national anthem, which never fails to bring tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. The soldiers threw their caps into the air in celebration of a few days’ leave before their next posting.
This ceremony is not new to me. We had gone through it in the 1980’s when our own four children were in the army. We have also seen other grandsons complete training in both the IDF and the Israeli Air Force. In a year or two, other grandchildren will join them.
It doesn’t get any easier. One boy, just 16, spent part of his school holidays in Eilat taking a diving course and learning how to hold his breath underwater without an oxygen tank. He has informed his parents he wants to be a Navy Seal, one of the most dangerous jobs he could choose. His older brother is serving in a bomb squad.
And all the time, the question in my mind is: What if? What if we had not made aliyah? What if we’d remained in the safety of Australia, my birthplace? Would these young people now be graduating college rather than completing army training, preparing not for war but rather a career and a financially secure future?
The truth is, had we not moved here we would not have had these particular grandchildren. Our children would not have served in the Army or married their Israeli partners. We would probably have had other well-loved grandchildren, but not the 18 who are the fruit of our aliyah, and I can’t imagine life without any of them.
The price we have paid is very high and the chances are that things will not be different should we be blessed with great-grandchildren. With enemies on every border, terrorists even with Israeli passports, Hamas and Fatah actively encouraging suicide bombings, and rockets continuing to rain down on cities like Sderot, Middle East peace still seems an impossible dream.
Despite all this, I could not imagine living anywhere else. This is our country, our people. I feel so privileged to wake up every morning in Jerusalem, where the most mundane tasks take on a special significance just because they are happening in this holy, mystical city.
Hope has been described as the waking man’s dream, and this is what sustains us. Hope – Hatikvah. And that is why, no matter how often I stand to sing the words about a free people in our own land, the tears will flow. But, as always, I will feel indescribably proud.
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At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel
“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”
Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning
He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.
Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.
Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.
Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed
Many journalists are covertly blaming the Charlie Hebdo writers themselves through self-censorship.
Why does the Times relay different motivations and narratives for jihadists in Europe and Israel?
To defeat parasites-the hosts of terrorists-we need to deny them new people, potential terrorists
Combating Amalek doesn’t mean all who disagree with you is evil-rather whom to follow and to oppose
Desperate people take what they can, seizing opportunity to advance their main goal; the Arabs don’t
Just imagine you are walking through a beautiful garden. Feast your eyes on the colors of the flowers, the grass at your feet, the leaves of the trees in shades from green to silver. Listen to the birds. Let the sunshine caress your face. Smell the perfume.
This is a remarkable book to assist those of us – and that means everyone – who are trying to find our way in life, with all its setbacks and pain, as well as for people who want to help people.
Forty-six years ago, in the first week of June, Israel stunned the world when it wasn’t looking. Four years later, Israel stunned me when I wasn’t looking.
Jerusalem was never real to me. It was a name I came across in books of Bible stories as a child. If I’d ever tried to imagine it, it would have been like places in my books of fairy stories. I knew it was a city with crenellated walls, with domes and towers and minarets. In my mind, I saw it peopled with old men with long beards and flowing robes, and women with clay jugs precariously balanced on their heads.
Jews all over the world celebrate Israel’s Independence Day – even those who have no intention of ever coming on aliyah, and many of whom have never even visited Israel. “It’s a kind of insurance policy” one overseas friend told me. “By supporting Israel financially and emotionally, I know that its sanctuary is available to me or my children or grandchildren should the need ever arise.”
As we get older, nostalgia takes over many areas of our life and we often yearn for things from the past.
One of the most popular of our chaggim is Simchat Torah, which falls on the last day of Sukkot. As its name suggests, Simchat Torah celebrates the joy of the Torah. There is no record of this holiday before the 11th century, and its origin may have been in Spain.
Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/living-in-hopedv/2008/08/06/
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