Catching up….or starting to

I’ve been taking a break from blogging.  It wasn’t intentional, actually.  I was just super busy, things were happening, I kept thinking oh, I’ll have to blog about this, and I just haven’t gotten to it.  Very frustrating.  A couple of days have stretched into a couple of weeks, and I’m feeling the withdrawal symptoms.

The spate of holidays continues.  We celebrated Israel’s 62nd birthday.

There is nothing, in my opinion, that defines the Israeli psyche more than the fact that our Memorial Day comes the day before Independence Day.  Memorial Day, when we remember all the fallen – in wars, in defense of the country, in acts of terror – and it would be a very difficult task to find even one family that hasn’t been touched.  It is intense, draining, and personal for all of us – we remember a loved one, or a co-worker, a teacher or student, a friend.  There are ceremonies in every cemetery.   One of the TV channels shows a parade of names of the fallen, name and date killed, beginning in 1947 – and it takes the full day to list everyone up until now.  Sirens sound throughout the country for moments of silence, both in the evening and the following morning.  (In the Hebrew calendar,  a  “day” is from sunset to sunset.)  So we have a day of mourning, and then, once the sun sets, we make the instant switch to happy celebrations, fireworks, concerts in parks and dancing in the streets.

Every year the difficulty of this extreme transition is discussed.   But no one is willing to change it.  Why?   Because we consider Independence Day to be a great celebration of joy – but for the 24 hours preceding it, we remember the price we’ve paid for it.  And the linking of these two important days gives them both such an extra significance that we suffer the drastic mood swing gladly.

Inbal 1979-2001

And now tonight is Lag B’Omer, celebrated with bonfires.  Kids have been collecting boards and branches for a couple of weeks now, the city puts up fences around young trees to protect them from the enthusiastic youngsters who all want their bonfires to be the biggest and the longest-burning.  When kidlet was in grade school, we always had a class bonfire with all the families, but now that she’s a teenager she and her friends have their own, having parents there would be uncool. 

At least now I don’t have to sit and make dozens of smores…

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