This coming week, Tuesday evening/Wednesday, is Israel Independence Day (Yom Ha’atsmaut) immediately following Memorial Day( Yom HaZikaron).
In general, the impact of celebrating independence is amplified by its immediately following memorial services for those who have given their lives in its defense. There are a number of virtual commemorative and celebratory events available to join.
This year, one of the consequences of being “shut in,” in isolation, is increased thought and feelings about events/happenings. In my case, this year Israel independence and its importance to the entire Jewish people, certainly in Israel and everywhere, is greatly amplified for a number of reasons.
This past week there were memorial services that combined to led me to thinking about “where we’ve been, where we are and where we’re going.”
First of all, last Sunday there was a very moving service commemorating Yom HaSho’a- Holocaust Memorial Day, from the lens of our Sephardic experience. In the midst of the pandemic, we’ve heard about casualties, directly or indirectly due to it, including relatives and friends. The deep sorrow of the tragedies and losses of the Holocaust, and the sobering experience of the pandemic combine to add a universal, somber note to this period.
Then, personally, there was a stream of family meldados - Sunday evening (aunt), Tuesday morning (uncle- Rabbi Maimon’s 7month), Wednesday evening (uncle), Thursday evening (Papu) and Sunday morning (uncle).
Lo-ores al D-o, like many in our community, I am blessed to have many relatives (my mother was one of 12 and my father was one of eight), relatively close family, now spread out over the world. This permits, as our families grow, celebration of life cycle alegrias together; it also means that close ones’ losses are present as well.
So, going into Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atsmaut this year, we are especially mindful of the need to remember, carry on the positive mission and message of those we’ve lost and to share and experience the celebration of life and liberty we are blessed with and resolve to do our best to make the most of our future in peace, harmony, wellness and well-being.
Hasta cien y vente, kon vida y salud.