The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
Seven-year-old Shoshana ran from the kitchen, the glass of orange juice shaking wildly as big globs of the liquid splashed on the floor. Through the living room she ran, and then made her way up the stairs to her older brother’s bedroom.
“Yonatan! Quick. Listen. I hear it again!”
The 18-year-old scooped his younger sister in his strong arms and quickly walked to the open window. The blue-and-white flag hanging from a branch on the apple tree fluttered in the early evening breeze as the setting sun colored the skies a fiery red. Far above, a majestic eagle, his wings spread wide, soared across the valley, his eyes seeking a passing prey. Serenity reigned supreme as the siblings stood still, eyes searching the hills, ears alert for the sound Shoshana said she’d been hearing.
“I hear it toward nightfall, when the sun begins to set.”
Yonatan smiled and shushed her to be still. They listened. And then…
“There! You hear it?” she yelled excitedly.
Yonatan smiled. “Yes, Shoshana, I hear it.”
The sorrowful tune was unmistakable; someone was playing taps in a slow yet steady tune. So sad. So haunting.
“What is it, Yonatan?” the little girl whispered.
“Yes. Taps. It’s the melody that signals an end. A farewell. It puts things to rest, buries the past. A tune that signals finality.”
The little girl looked confused.
“Yonatan, I don’t understand a word you are saying!”
“Here. Sit here on my bed and I’ll explain. Whenever there is a war, soldiers fight gallantly against the enemy. They do all they can to prevent the enemy from succeeding. The enemy’s soldiers fight for their country’s cause. Soldiers on both sides get hurt. Some pay the ultimate price in defense of their nation – the ones who do not return.”
“You mean like Uncle Chaim?”
“Yes. Just like Uncle Chaim…who didn’t return.”
Her big brown eyes widened with sudden understanding. She placed her head against her brother’s shoulder.
“And those who don’t return are laid to rest. The words of Kaddish are the last things said on the fresh grave. In other nations, when a soldier’s coffin is lowered into the ground, taps are played by a lone bugle boy. The haunting, somber melody signals a closure, an end.”
“I think I understand. But…why is someone playing that melody here? Who died?”
“An idea died, Shosh, an idea.”
“An idea? What do you mean?”
“Not so many years ago, Jews throughout the world experienced a horrible calamity. Six million of us – men, women and children – were murdered by the Nazis…”
“You mean like Mommy’s grandparents?”
“Yes. Just like them. And the remnants, the survivors of that horrible Holocaust established a land of refuge. A place they could all their own. The State of Israel rose from the ashes that engulfed world Jewry. There were many debates and arguments (they still go on) as to whether they should have established the state or not.”
“Because the state was not established according to the Torah. But that’s a discussion for another time. The fact is that millions of Jews came to these shores, were welcomed, and reestablished and rebuilt their shattered lives. The Arabs tried, and are still trying, to destroy Israel. But Hashem never abandons His children, even if they betray Him. For 56 years, unrelentingly, the Jews here fought to survive. ‘Never Again!’ they vowed. Never again would Jews be persecuted, expelled, slaughtered, the way they were in the past. But the world, never very fond of living Jews, continues to tighten the noose meant to strangle the State of Israel.”
About the Author: Isaac Kohn is senior vice president for Prime Care Consultants.
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On his shloshim, I want to discuss a term I’ve heard countless times about Rav Aharon: Gedol HaDor
After obsequious claims of devotion to Israel, Obama took to criticizing Israel on peace process
Mr. Obama, Israeli voters have democratically chosen to apply Israeli sovereignty over Judea&Samaria
Ronen Shamir’s just the latest tenured Leftist convicted of sexual misconduct with his own student
NY Times precious front page ink is only reserved for portrayals of Israel as the aggressor.
Although I loved law school, I doubted myself: Who would come to me, a chassidish woman lawyer?
American Jews who go gaga for Obama are first and foremost “Liberals of the Mosaic Persuasion”
“Illinois is the first state to take concrete, legally binding action against the BDS campaign”
Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo
Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims
The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR
Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.
U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.
We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.
I laughed when I heard Pelosi’s remarks that she was “near tears” from Bibi’s “condescending” speech
Ms. Foreign Minister, do some reading that won’t cure your insomnia over buildings going up in Israel but may broaden your horizons.
The thug knew exactly what you are and he went after you anyway, Mr. Anteby.
Last month United Torah Jewry MKs heckled a speech by Prime Minister Netanyahu and then walked out of the room. As the prime minister read out the names of the ministers in his new government, UTJ MK Yisrael Eichler shouted, “Jews don’t ban Jews” from the Knesset. (The reference was to demands by the Yesh Atid Party that haredi parties be excluded from Netanyahu’s new coalition.)
In a recent speech, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak suggested that Israel consider unilaterally disengaging from Judea and Samaria.
“If it is impossible to reach an agreement with the Palestinians,” he said, “we should consider an interim arrangement, or even a unilateral disengagement.”
There are so many events about which one ought to write. So much is happening on a daily and even an hourly basis. Slaughter in Norway, unrelenting turmoil in the Middle East, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tsunamis, revolutions and the threat of a nuclear apocalypse emanating from the maniacal regime in Iran.
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