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Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Time To Laugh, A Time To Weep

In Israel, the lament is done from left to right of this title....the weeping preceeds the joy.

Yom HaZikaron, the Day of Remembrance, comes the day before Independence Day. I went to the Boy's high school on Yom HaZikaron as he was one of the children selected to be in the honor guard for the ceremony.

The children had worked hard at commemorating those who have died to protect this small country, as well as the many civilians murdered by Arab terrorists. The flag was lowered to half staff; the honor guard of four students carried flags which waved gently in the breeze in time to the music. Although the music came from a tape of prerecorded songs, everyone knew the words and sang: Ani Maamin (I Believe), Oseh Shalom (Make Peace), and finally Hatikvah (The Hope), Israel's national anthem.

Israel's music isn't martial music. It is music that sings of making peace, of belief in the Messiah and a future of peace, of hope....something those who denigrate Israel as an apartheid, Nazi-like state choose not to notice, as they choose not to notice the songs, poems and plays of Arab children, who sing of slaughtering Jews.

The Rav recited Kaddish after the torch was lit. That was the most difficult part to watch, as some of these children have lost family members to war and terrorism. We could tell who the mourners among us were -- they were the children who could not hold back their sobs.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young wrote great music. I couldn't get the lyrics of one song out of my head today:

Find the cost of freedom
buried in the ground
Mother Earth will swallow you,
lay your body down


Our graveyards are full of our familes who are buried here: soldiers and police who have manned the borders and driven back the enemy time and again, as well as civilians who have refused to flee the terror wars waged since 1921: the Hebron pogrom, the Arab Revolt, the War of Attrition, the Oslo War, Gaza's incessant rocket attacks and the other constant, unending (and in Europe, unrecognized) warfare which targets civilians. I heard this refrain in my head as helicopters whomp-whomped overhead in heightened security all over Jerusalem -- a reminder of the need for constant vigilence against those who want us all dead.

We honor our dead on this day. We grieve for the widows, the parents, the girlfriends, the orphans who have to manage life with the huge emptiness of unspeakable loss.

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