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April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Independence Day’

The Only Truth

Monday, April 15th, 2013

It’s rather ironic that although my written Hebrew is awful, I see, hear and think about Hebrew linguistics a lot.  Most people are rather surprised at my grasp of Hebrew linguistics and the meanings I find in words.

The word אמת  emmet, truth, written without Hebrew vowels, can mean something which really is true:t That אמות amute I will die.  The actual Hebrew root for die is מ ו ת which has a “ו” but the “ו” is dropped in some of the conjugations of the verb, such as past tense.  It’s ironic, but the only certainty in life is that we will one day die.

Why is death so on my mind today?  Because it’s Israel’s Soldiers and Terror Victims Memorial Day. After two totally mesmerizing moving ceremonies, last night and this morning, all I can do is think of the victims, those dead from Arab terror or war.

After seeing and hearing and talking to all the parents, spouses, siblings, children, grandchildren, grandparents, nieces, nephews, cousins, friends (did I leave anyone out?) of the dead how can anything other than death be on my mind?

They may not be among the living, but they certainly cast a long shadow on us and our lives.

From the speeches, it was clear that time doesn’t heal the pain.  Everyone I spoke to afterwards agreed that each year it gets harder.  The mourning comes in waves.

From the comments on my post, One of The Very Best Things About Israel, I see that not everyone agrees with me that it’s good to combine Independence Day with Memorial Day.  I treasure the fact that I’m taking intense memories of the dead with me to the celebrations.  I don’t think it is good to just celebrate our independence.  It’s too much like those who think that all you have to do is “write a check” to buy something and don’t realize that the check must be covered by money in the bank.

It’s important to realize the cost of something, and that includes the State of Israel.  Our country isn’t just a money budget.  We’ve invested many lives in building it.

We are Jews, יהודים Yihudim. In the word יהודי yihudi Jew we can find the word להודות lihodote, to thank, and we must thank God and all of those who gave their lives for the defense of the State of Israel and the Jewish People.

And tonight we will celebrate the God given victory…

Visit Shiloh Musings.

The Fourth of July is Coming – Who Cares?

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

Last week, The Jewish Press ran an article, “Reform and Orthodox Kids to Celebrate Fourth of July Together.” The stated goal of the celebration is “to strengthen the Jewish identity of the young people.”

Give me a break! Does anyone genuinely believe that celebrating the Fourth of July will strengthen Jewish identity? Yom HaAtzmaut is Independence Day for the Jews, not the 4th of July. Boker tov, my friends, but Israel is our nation, not America. How can you expect to strengthen Jewish identity by having Jewish kids celebrate a gentile country’s Independence Day? Even if you play “Hava Negilla” to remind the kids that they’re Jewish and have them dance a Hora, you are leading them astray, and in many cases, leading them into the arms of a shicksa or shagetz. After all, if they are Americans like everyone else, why not marry an America like everyone else? In America, everyone is equal, Jew and gentile alike. So why not marry a gentile? Why not get married to Sally Jane or Wendy Sue and watch the 4th of July fireworks together?

All I can say is, “Thank you, God, for having taken me out of America. Thank you for letting me realize that George Washington isn’t my nations’ founding father, that the Pilgrims aren’t my ancestors, that Plymouth Rock isn’t the Foundation Stone, and that the Boston Tea Party has nothing to do with my past. Thank you, God, for bringing me to the Land of the Jews, where we sing “HaTikva” in Hebrew at national gatherings and not the “Star Spangled Banner.” Thank you for making me realize that the Star of David is my nation’s flag and not the Stars and Stripes. Thank you for giving me wonderful children who are all growing up as Jews from the tip of their kippot down to their sandals and Crocs, without dual loyalties and schizophrenic identities, who celebrate Israel’s Memorial Day over fallen Jewish soldiers, and Israel’s Independence Day over having our own Jewish State, and not the Independence Day of some foreign country that is always pressuring Israel to surrender half of Jerusalem and the heart of our Biblical homeland to enemies bent on our destruction, may Hashem oust them from our midst.

Only an oleh from America who now lives in Israel can appreciate the incredible difference between religious kids who grow up in Israel and their Diaspora counterparts. My children are a different species of child, a totally different breed. Sure they like candy and Coke and playing basketball like Jewish children all over the world, but their heads and hearts are in completely different places. In school, they learn about Jewish history, not the history of some gentile country. They learn that Avraham Avinu is their founding father and not George Washington. They grow up speaking Hebrew and not some foreign language. Their allegiance is to the flag of Israel and not some gentile flag. The songs they sing are about their own Jewish homeland and not “America the beautiful, God shed His grace on thee.” The wars they learn about are Jewish wars. Their war heroes are Israeli, Yehoshua ben Nun, David HaMelach, Yehuda HaMaccabee, Bar Kochva and Rabbi Akiva, not Patrick Henry, Davy Crocket, or Wyatt Earp. Instead of growing up being American kids who are also Jewish, they are Children of Israel, just as we are called in the Bible. Judaism for them is not just a religion, but their national identity as well. Thank God that they have never heard of Betsy Ross, Thomas Jefferson, the crossing of the Delaware, or Francis Scott Key. If you ask them where the Declaration of Independence was signed, they will answer, Tel Aviv. And when they are eighteen years old, they go into the Israel Defense Forces willing to fight and sacrifice themselves if need be for their Jewish brothers and sisters in the Holy Land, instead of going off to party in college with blond and blue eyed co-eds.

Here in Israel, I meet a lot of wonderful, young Jewish Americans who come for a year of study, or for a short Birthright visit. Often, they are guests at our home for a meal on Shabbat. No matter whether they are Orthodox, reform, or nothing at all, their heads are Made in America. Yes, even the Orthodox – the blood which flows in their veins is red, white, and blue. Say something against the President of the United States and they get offended. Suggest that they visit Hevron and the Tomb of the Patriarchs and they become afraid. They are all good, well-meaning Jews, but their minds have been brainwashed with all of the history, culture, folklore, and trash of America. They themselves will tell you proudly, first and foremost, they are Americans. That’s their main identity. Their Jewishness is clearly in second place. Baseball is far more important to them than the latest headlines in Israel. I’m sorry to say it, but it’s true.

US Embassy in Tel Aviv Raffling Off July 4 Party Tickets

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

The US Embassy in Tel Aviv announced Wednesday that it will be giving away tickets to an annual Independence Day party at the US ambassador’s residence in Herzliya.

For the second year in a row, the ambassador will host a party on the lawn of his apartment by the sea, with invitations extended to Israeli politicians, diplomats, journalists, and military brass, as well as Israel’s prime minister and president.  Traditional beer, fireworks, and American music will be featured.

To win entrance to the raffle, contestants must identify scrambled images of American sites, personalities, and historical events on the embassy’s Facebook page.

Bronx Girl Wins National Bible Contest, Passaic Boy Scores Perfect

Monday, May 14th, 2012

Shalhevet Schwartz, a 14 year old girl from Riverdale, Bronx, won her division of the National Bible Contest held last Sunday at Yeshiva University in Manhattan.  To the surprise of some commentators, she did not opt to wear the standard “religious” dress to the event, which would include a skirt, but was one of just two girls to wear pants to the competition, according to a report in the New York Times.

Despite this distinction, the freshman at SAR High School exhibited sufficient bible knowledge to win, and be eligible to participate in the world championships in Jerusalem, the “Chidon HaTanach”, held every year on Israel’s Independence Day.

According to the NYT, Shalhevet’s school requires a traditional Jewish dress code of skirts and modest shirtsleeves.  But Shalhevet, who won the Hebrew division competition despite her eligibility to compete in English, chose to arrive in her regular street clothes.

Her secret of success was to study regularly – at least 20-30 minutes every day, and for longer periods immediately prior to the contest.

Middle-schooler  Yishai Eisenberg from Passaic, NJ, earned this year’s only perfect score.

Investigation: Non-Kosher Meat Served at President’s Independence Day Event

Monday, April 30th, 2012

The Daily Ma’ariv has published an Exposé of a major faux pas that allegedly took place during Independence Day celebrations at the presidential residence in Jerusalem. According to testimonies that reached the paper, the company Pri Ha’Aretz (Fruit of the Land) was forced to purchase a large quantity of meat on Thursday morning, Independence Day, to replace meat that had spoiled. A company representative rushed to a non-kosher butcher shop in the Arab village of Abu Gosh, and after purchasing the meat had it prepared in a local non-kosher restaurant.

The Ma’ariv investigation revealed the that the purchase was made at the Issawi butcher shop, which is open on Shabbat and also sells sea food.

The catering company admitted that the kosher meat for the presidential event had spoiled, but it told Ma’ariv that the substitute meat came from Kibbutz Givat Chayim Me’uchad, and therefore all the meat served was kosher.

But the president’s residence launched its own investigation following the call from Ma’ariv, and Jwadat Ibrahim, owner of the Abu Gosh restaurant and a close personal friend of President Peres, told the paper that on Thursday a man arrived in his establishment with meat and a receipt from a non-kosher butcher shop in the village, and asked to use the kitchen to cater the event scheduled for later that day.

“He asked my permission to cook a large quantity of hen’s meat shawarma (mixed meats on a spit), 80 kilogram (close to 180 lbs). He said he came from a catering company and added explicitly that he needed it for a 500-guest event at the presidential residence.”

The event was in honor of 120 outstanding soldiers and included Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz, senior cabinet ministers, Knesset members and the soldiers’ families.

So far, the catering company has made several contradictory claims in response to an inquiry from Ma’ariv as well as the president’s residence. It first denied there had been a purchase made in Abu Gosh, then said the purchase had been made for a different event, and finally that a company employee had gone out to Abu Gosh but returned empty handed.

The paper pointed out that the catering was under the supervision of the Chief Rabbinate which kosher-certified the food on Independence day and posted a kashrut supervisor inside the presidential kitchen throughout the event.

A spokesperson for the presidential residence said that legal action will be taken if it turns out that the caterer acted fraudulently.

Calendar Of Events

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

WHAT: The Florida-Israel Friendship League and the Consulate General of Israel present an “Israel 64” Independence Day celebration.
WHERE: Haulover Park, 10800 Collins Ave – 3rd entrance from the north
WHEN: Sunday, April 29, starting at 9 a.m.
CONTACT: 954-243-9529
Free entrance.

 

* * * * *

WHAT: Israel Independence Day celebration.
WHERE: David Posnack Jewish Community Center, 5850 S. Pine Island Road, Davie.
WHEN: Sunday, April 29, 12-4 p.m.
CONTACT: 954-434-0499
Free admission.

Happy Re-Birth Day Israel!

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

YERUSHALAYIM, ISRAEL – Jews the world over rejoice today as the modern miracle of Israel celebrates 64 years. There are those among us who would boycott her. There are those among us who would sanction her. There are those among us that would sing her praises all the while acting against her best interests. The question is – why?

On the right, there are those who are unhappy with the decisions of Israel’s leaders. Firing mid-level officers for doing their job after months and months of “showing restraint” and sending the police to drag Jews out of their homes while allowing massive illegal Arab building to continue unabated in the Galil and elsewhere does not help this cause.

On the left, there are those who are unhappy with the decisions of Israel’s leaders. Passing laws that legalize Jewish settlement in all parts of the Land of Israel, protecting Israel’s civilians with roadblocks and military might while holding hard-core murderers and terrorists in jail does not help this cause.

So who is the “true” supporter of Israel? Who has her best interest at heart? Which side is the right one and which is wrong?

In Israel, there are at least 24 hours a year where this question, for the most part, is put aside. These 24 hours are followed, with nary a second to breathe in between, with 24 more where again, for the most part, these questions are put aside.

Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut – the Day of Remembrance and the Day of Independence – find the vast plurality of Israel standing in unity. We unite as a people at the worst of times – and we also unite as a people at the best of times. We may argue the merits of this decision or that until our faces are blue – but if God forbid something horrible happens – or by the grace of God something great happens, suddenly, left and right unite.

Why? How is it that we can put aside our disagreements, be they petty or of major consequence, at our moments of greatest emotion? Would it not be logical that when emotions are highest and the adrenaline is pumping hardest – we would become more ornery? More upset with each other? More divisive?

No. This is not the Jewish way and it never has been.

We are a people of extremes. We have always been a people of extremes. We have extreme intellectual faculties, extreme opinions, extreme rules, extreme ideas, extreme dreams and extreme ideas. (Please don’t get me started on the extreme levels of pressure we put on ourselves and our children and the infamously extreme levels of Jewish guilt we all live with.)

We are also a people of extreme successes and failures. Just look at the world news – for every Jew winning a Nobel Prize in this discipline or that – a Jew is failing us all and going to jail for his/her crimes. For every victory in the field, there is a failure of command, leadership or political courage that causes us to beat ourselves up from the right, the left, and more often than not – from both. Yet, when faced with the news of each extreme success and each extreme failure – we put aside our differences and look at that person as a brother, a sister, a member of the tribe, for better or for worse – as a fellow Jew.

In his seminal 1956 address Kol Dodi Dofek (The Voice of My Beloved is Knocking) the great Rav Yosef Ber Soloveitchik zt”l (The Rav) analyzed the miracles of Israel’s re-birth and found at least six knocks of HaShem at the doors of humanity. Each of these knocks, (military, political, educational, religious, sociological, communal) was unique but dependent. They may have been independent knocks but they were all very dependent on one another to be heard and acted upon. The changes that each knock of HaShem represented were in and of themselves extreme – and called for major changes in the global society and the Jewish one if they were to be heard and acted upon. The knocks of HaShem called for an unprecedented and extreme level of unity. The knocks called for an extreme level of hand holding and cooperation between diverse groups who traditionally did not get along.

A people of extremes, the survivors of extreme hate in Europe, Asia, Africa and in fact in America of that era too, were called by HaShem to hear Him knocking for extreme change, to come together in extreme unity and to help Him build an rejoice in an extreme miracle.

We Jews are an extremely tight knit family. Families fight and argue, yell and scream, rant and rave – especially when things are stable. But push a family into the corner, or provide it with reason for celebration – and, usually, family members they will come together in profound and extreme ways.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/happy-re-birth-day-israel/2012/04/26/

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