web analytics
August 30, 2015 / 15 Elul, 5775
At a Glance
Sections
Sponsored Post


Why Are We Here: Israel At 64

Waysman-042712-Flag

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.”

I find this kind of thinking very sad, because Israel is so much more than a refuge for persecuted Jews. Not every immigrant who has built a life here was escaping from the horror of the Holocaust, the tyranny behind the Iron Curtain or the cruelty of life in an Arab country. Many of us (the ones Israelis refer to as “Anglo-Saxim) lowered our standard of living significantly when we settled in Israel, yet found something here that enhanced our quality of life even as we struggled with inflation, mortgages and trying to make miniscule salaries stretch to the end of the month.

We found here a family – our own people. Of course, just like any family, we fight … about religion, politics, the settlements – and the fights can be very bitter. Yet at bottom we care about each other and bond together when we face a common enemy. We celebrate together and sometimes we even have to grieve together. Basically, when the going gets rough, we are on the same side. We express our identity as Jews in different ways, but it is the same identity.

We found here a beautiful country, unique in the variety of its scenery and climate. Mediterranean beaches banded by azure and indigo water and pure white sand; coral reefs; dense forests; wooded mountains; deserts and rivers and waterfalls; the shimmering mirrored glass of the Dead Sea; fields carpeted with wildflowers – and Jerusalem, the priceless jewel.

Some of us found here a spirituality that we’d never been able to achieve abroad. Anyone who has been in Israel on Yom Kippur, when the whole country comes to a standstill for one day, cannot doubt the kedusha, the holiness of Eretz Yisrael. It is intangible, yet it is an undeniable presence.

We found here a pride in the remarkable achievements of this tiny country. We can match, and surpass, the high-tech of much bigger, richer and better-developed nations. We teach agriculture to the world. We are rich in poets, writers, musicians, actors and artists. We can boast of industrial entrepreneurs and brilliant scientists. When any new Israeli invention captures the world’s imagination, somehow we all bask in the reflected glory.

Kibbutz Kiryat Chaim, 1942

Israelis have always been compared to the Sabra – the cactus with the thorny exterior but the soft heart. We celebrate Yom HaTzma’ut in many ways – campfires and singing, picnics, a Bible Quiz, concerts, music and dancing in the streets. We spend the day with family and friends and relish every moment of it. But it is more than just enjoyment. On every building, the Israeli flag flies. Almost every balcony, in every city flies the white flag with the blue Magen David, the Shield of David. And for days beforehand and a week afterwards, the Israeli flag flies from every car on the road. Every ceremony opens with the singing of “HaTikva” – the Hope – Israel’s national anthem. We sing it standing straight and proud, and usually with tears in our eyes as we remember the broken people who found a safe haven here, and those who never managed to reach its shores and died with the dream of Zion in their hearts. And we also remember the brave men and women who gave their lives in all of Israel’s wars, and in the pre-State days, the fighters and pioneers who fashioned this wonderful land that we have inherited.

Shin Shalom, one of Israel’s greatest poets, expressed it for all of us in his “Mother Jerusalem Singing,” which he wrote a day after the Yom Kippur War in 1973:

“Love forever, glow forever,
Cherish, yearn, preserve the kernel
Of an everlasting nation, of a heritage eternal.”

Dvora Waysman is the author of 11 books including The Pomegranate Pendant, now a movie titled “The Golden Pomegranate” and her latest novel In A Good Pasture (Chaim Mazo Publishers) “

About the Author: Dvora Waysman is the author of 13 books, one of which, “The Pomegranate Pendant” was made into the movie “The Golden Pomegranate.” Born in Australia, she has lived in Jerusalem for 44 years.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “Why Are We Here: Israel At 64”

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
Former Arkansas Governor and current presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee in Jerusalem.
Official PA Media Calls Huckabee ‘Inane Creature’ and ‘Wicked Man’
Latest Sections Stories
book-Lord-Get-Me-High

Even when our prayers are ignored and troubles confront us, Rabbi Shoff teaches that it is the same God who sent the difficulties as who answered our prayers before.

Schonfeld-logo1

I’ve put together some of the most frequently asked questions regarding bullies, friendship and learning disabilities.

book-Avi's-Choice

His parents make it clear that they feel the right thing is for Avi to visit his grandfather, but they leave it up to him.

There is a rich Jewish history in this part of the world. Now the hidden customs are being revealed, as many seek to reconnect with their roots.

There are times when a psychiatrist will over-medicate, which is why it’s important to find a psychiatrist whom you trust and feel comfortable with.

On November 22, 1963, Abraham Zapruder created one of the most famous, and valuable, pieces of film and became forever linked with one of the greatest American national tragedies when he stood with his camera on an elevated concrete abutment as President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade passed through Dealey Plaza in Dallas. Exhibited here is […]

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength – carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.” – Corrie ten Boom I’ve been thinking a lot about worrying. Anxiety is an issue close to my heart – […]

Don’t be afraid to try something different.

Upon meeting the Zionist delegation, General Wu, a recent convert to Christianity, said, “You are my spiritual brothers.

With the assistance of Mr. Tress, Private Moskowitz tried tirelessly to become an army chaplain.

Dr. Yael Respler is taking a well-deserved vacation this week and asked Eilon Even-Esh to share some thoughts with her readers in her stead.

More Articles from Dvora Waysman
Dvora Waysman

Fasting on Tisha B’Av helps to remember the past & recognize the miraculous nature of our history

Waysman-071814

How can you run away from Israel and all the things that have shaped your life?

Israel is so much more than a refuge for persecuted Jews.

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.

His dream was to reach out to every Jew, even the most secular.

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.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/devora-waysman/why-are-we-here-israel-at-64/2012/04/27/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: