The freedom to be as stubborn as we want in our own land

Israelis are nothing if not… persistent. That’s how we ended up here after thousands of years, and it’s how we became Startup Nation. So when we planned to go to the beach weeks ago for Yom Haatzmaut, you can bet the forecast be damned and we were going to the &@!$% beach.

Even if there were 35mph winds, wintery temperatures, and not a single other soul but our party in view.

No better Israel education than the one from your sabra kids

Things I love about Independence Day season in Israel:

  • Every year – without fail – I manage to learn something new from my kids.
  • This morning, all dressed up for the gan celebration, on the way to the car, my gan-aged kids broke out into song together.
  • I asked them to teach it to me.
  • By the time we got to gan, we were all three singing it together.
  • The song – Eretz Yisrael Sheli Yaffa v’Gam Porachat – was stuck in my head by the time I pulled away from gan.

 ארץ ישראל שלי יפה וגם פורחת 
מילים ולחן: דתיה בן דור

ארץ ישראל שלי יפה וגם פורחת
מי בנה ומי נטע
כולנו ביחד
אני בניתי בית בארץ ישראל
אז יש לנו ארץ
ויש לנו בית בארץ ישראל

ארץ ישראל שלי יפה וגם פורחת
מי בנה ומי נטע
כולנו ביחד
אני נטעתי עץ בארץ ישראל
אז יש לנו ארץ
ויש לנו בית
ויש לנו עץ בארץ ישראל

ארץ ישראל שלי יפה וגם פורחת
מי בנה ומי נטע
כולנו ביחד
אני סללתי כביש בארץ ישראל
אז יש לנו ארץ
ויש לנו בית
ויש לנו עץ
ויש לנו כביש בארץ ישראל

ארץ ישראל שלי יפה וגם פורחת
מי בנה ומי נטע
כולנו ביחד
אני בניתי גשר בארץ ישראל
אז יש לנו ארץ
ויש לנו בית
ויש לנו עץ
ויש לנו כביש
ויש לנו גשר בארץ ישראל

ארץ ישראל שלי יפה וגם פורחת
מי בנה ומי נטע
כולנו ביחד
אני חיברתי שיר בארץ ישראל
אז יש לנו ארץ
ויש לנו בית
ויש לנו עץ
ויש לנו כביש
ויש לנו גשר
ויש לנו שיר על ארץ ישראל

Yom Haaztmaut 5774: Three reasons why

‘Why did you move to Israel?’

We get asked that a lot, don’t we?

Here’s my #1 reason 9 years ago, and my #1 reason now: Children who know no differently…

The list of reasons for living in Israel grows each year I live and learn here. This year it grew by way of another Israeli kid. One more kid to realize a dream.

(Also, shwarma.)

Go gaga for mongal. Or…

Recently I came across this ‘infographic’. I don’t know the source or whether the stats are correct, but it still resonates because we all know what the sky looks like by the time Yom Haatzmaut is over:

1636 פרות, 1884 כבשים, 548 חזירים, 685,000 תרנגולות... ביום אחד. יום העצמעות שמח.

1636 cows. 1884 sheep. 548 pigs. 685,000 chickens… in one day. Happy Independence Day.

The animals. The air. The smell of our hair. Nothing is left untouched when we get excited about something as a nation.

Are there alternatives to a gluttonous meatfest when celebrating the most important event in modern Jewish history?

How about…

  1. An early hike, before the smoke settles
  2. A day at the beach – it’s not as crowded as you’d think, and no bbq-ing allowed
  3. A block party – a group in Efrat puts one on every year – what better way to celebrate community?

I know it’s ‘what’s done’ and I know we as a country love to barbecue in general. But surely we could diversify a little bit.

Maybe an even healthier by-product would be less audible duf duf music.

Patriotism through the eyes of a kid.

A couple days ago, unsure of whether my son’s gan would cover it extensively, I started teaching him about Yom Haatzmaut myself.

Which actually just meant teaching him the word דגל.

Yesterday, he discovered the Israeli flag in our house… the very one we had been talking about. That made him mildly excited and less skeptical that I’m just spewing useless information half the time.

On the way to gan today, through streets covered in flags, lamp posts draped in flags, homes decorated in flags – he just. couldn’t. believe. it.

At every turn, at every new kikar, he squealed in laughter and cries of ‘degels! degel! more degel! DEGELS EVERYWHERE!’

 

And lest you become concerned with there being yet another zealous zionist in the world, well… I’m pretty sure it was more about the wonderment at there being so many of something he just learned exists.

Free to be… sixty three.

Had a great day, especially since Park Begin wasn’t a disheveled, polluted mess by the time it ended! I love how a bunch of immigrant friends can get together, no local family aside, and have a great time of a national holiday.

To the %#@! asshole who let his Doberman Pinscher run loose through groups of families in the park: seriously, fuck you. Your giant dog, which should have been tied up (or not at a family park on a national holiday) ran past my traumatized kid, sunk his teeth into his ball, tore it apart, ran through another family making their kids freak and their baby cry, then you yelled back at the mother who dared call you out on it, and  when you finally caught your dog and started walking away, you didn’t even apologize until we prompted you to. What I really want is to call you at home and have my kid leave a message on your machine, where he says the sentence he’s been repeating all day in a sad, traumatized voice since I explained to him why he can no longer play with his ball in the grass: doggy broken… doggy broken…

<throat clear, dust off shoulder>

I love this country, I love living here, and feel incredibly lucky to be making my life in this place the last six years. I just wish the same for anyone else who’s looking to attempt it.