On this past week came and went Holocaust Remembrance Day + my Birthday on the same day, Memorial Day (fallen soldiers and terror victims) and Independence Day right after it, with no time to breath in between them.
Israel has always been unique about these days and the collective approach to them. To me, the cultural difference between here and the US is especially vibrant on these days.
Everyone stands together to remember. To cry, to comfort each other. Even the people who usually push you in line for the bus are suddenly caring and loving. Then, when Memorial Day is losing its grip with the last rays of sunshine, everyone is filled with joy that always reminded me more of relief. Because Independence Day in Israel is like an everlasting realization of “Wallah, we are still here.”
But as I get older, the bitterness of Memorial Day grows on me. They didn’t have to die, I find myself thinking. How long will we keep playing this blood-sucking game? They are not heroes more than they are sorrows. Them and their families, empty bowls of sadness.
I remember how a few years back, a group of students from my abroad college wanted to interview me for a project. They asked me how do I feel about Israel. They needed a “short answer”. I didn’t have the short answer. Though for a moment, a simple short thought crossed my mind: I wouldn’t be alive without Israel. But as a private person, should I really be thinking of this when asked about where I am from? The answer I have been giving myself for years is ‘no’. Yet, the thought came along with all its glory and bravado.
The girl interviewing was waiting for me to start speaking, pen and paper in front of her. I don’t remember what I said. I probably mumbled all sorts of things, burying the thought.
Yesterday and today, the sounds of fireworks and jets were dancing in the sky for hours. I wanted them to stop. “It’s a holiday!” my roommate declared, the tone of her voice implied a worry that I was not too happy about it.
On this past week, I did not judge my feelings or thoughts about anything, just let them be.