Photo Credit: Jewish Press

The official ceremony for Israeli Independence Day had rehearsals, ushers, flags, trumpets, protocol, and a written text that was printed in advance and learned by heart. Everything is scheduled according to the second.

Last week, I broadcast from the ceremony at Mt. Herzl, and one minute struck me in particular. Marie Nachmias went up on stage to light a torch – and prayed. She did not speak, did not quote anybody, did not talk about her work. She simply said a prayer from the bottom of her heart.


Like a grandmother who blesses her grandchildren, she blessed us all. Marie raised her hands and eyes to the sky, and the crowd, including the prime minister, rose spontaneously and applauded her.

Marie Nachmias is 92 years old. She suffered from the Holocaust in Tunisia and made aliya to Afula. She successfully raised 52 foster children as well as her own biological children. Many of her foster children were abandoned after birth because they were born with special needs.

After the ceremony, I sat down to transcribe her unwritten speech, a speech from the heart: “I am Marie Nachmias, the daughter of Shalom and Chana Sabach. I bless the state of Israel with all my heart. May G-d hear me along with the righteous tzsadikim. May Israel continue rising and continue growing. And may no more soldiers fall in battle, oh please!

“With all my heart, the Jews, Arabs, Christians and Druze… all have been created by G-d, may He give us peace, and next year, another 10 million Israelis! And to the glory… I’m sorry, and I am nervous… to the glory of the State of Israel!”


Maybe that’s how she managed to raise 52 foster children? With prayer.

(translated by


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Sivan Rahav-Meir is a popular Channel 12 News anchor, the host of a weekly radio show on Galei Tzahal, a columnist for Yediot Aharonot, and the author of “#Parasha.” Every day she shares short Torah thoughts to over 100,000 Israelis – both observant and not – via Facebook, Twitter, and WhatsApp.