The wailing siren signals the city to a halt. People step out of their cars on the highway, pause in their steps on the way to whatever is most important and pressing.
This is the call of memory. The call of battles lost and won. The song of the voices of those who are no longer with us. This is Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s day of remembrance.
We are low as we move through the day in sorrow and solemnity. We remember the fallen who lost their lives defending our Jewish home with memorial services; weaving text and poetry and song and silence.
And then, as the last mournful melodies fade into the ether, Israel bursts into fanfare and color and light. Spectacular dancing and jumping and celebration abounds. In true Sabra fashion, our tears of sorrow instantly become tears and shouts of joy upon our Independence.
The ability to hold both deep sorrow and exuberant joy in the same vessel is extraordinary. Israel’s example of being able to do so sets an example for us Diaspora Jews. Israel is a people who brought forth water and abundance from a scarce desert with song and hard work. They are people who live every day knowing the shop they walk past might be the next target of explosives. Yet they still go into the shop. They still get on the bus. They live every day with fanfare and color and light and spectacular dancing and joy, amidst the fear, amidst the loss, amidst the remembering.
We too, here in the states, and throughout the world are trying to hold both joy and sorrow, and fear, and anxiety and happiness and peace- all of these conflicting emotions at once in each present moment. We are in the midst of a great mitzrayim, narrow place, moving one step in front of the other, grasping our footing, singing our redemption song. Maybe taking a step back or two and then moving forward again.
This Tuesday and Wednesday, April 28th and 29th are Yom Hazikaron and Yom Hatz’m’ut. Israel’s Day of Remembrance and Day of Independence. The scene I described at the beginning of this article is the day I experienced as I moved through Yom Hazikaron/Yom Ha’tzm’ut during my time living in Jerusalem. It is a unique, humbling, moving, and beautiful 48 hours of living.
In honor of this extraordinary time that we are about to hold together, please join me on FB Live, Tuesday Night April 28th at 6pm for Songs of Remembrance and Celebration. Let’s join together and connect to our Jewish home through music and poetry via virtual waves. I am looking forward to singing with all of you!
The wailing siren signals the city to a halt. People step out of their cars on the highway, pause in their steps on the way to whatever is most important and pressing. This is the call of freedom, the instant of Independence. Yom Hatz’m’ut. This is Israel. Color and light, tears and joy.
Shira u’v’racha- in Song and Blessing,
Cantor Lauren Adesnik