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      The Eye of the Storm
      by Batya Medad
      A Unique Perspective by Batya Medad of Shiloh
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      Batya Medad made aliya from New York to Israel in 1970 and has been living in Shiloh since 1981. Recently she began organizing women's visits to Tel Shiloh for Psalms and prayers. (For more information, please email her.)  Batya is a newspaper and magazine columnist, a veteran jblogger and recently stopped EFL teaching.  She's also a wife, mother, grandmother, photographer and HolyLand hitchhiker, always seeing things from her own very unique perspective. For more of Batya's writings and photos, check out:

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      Iyar 4, 5769, 4/28/2009

      The Empty Chair, Israel's Memorial Day


      I left a bit late to get to the ceremony at the cemetery this morning. The siren began, and I stood still. I looked around. Everyone stopped whatever they had been doing. People stepped out of their cars. Tractor drivers got down from their tractors, as you can see in the picture.
       
      The cemetery was full of people sitting and standing during the memorial ceremony. The graves in this picture are mostly of old people who died from "natural causes."
       
      I never like photographing my neighbors during such events. I try to be discreet.
       

       We've adopted the custom of reading T'hillim, Psalms, of the letters of the soldiers and terror victims' names at each grave. I stood with the parents of someone buried in a different cemetery. We found ourselves standing around an empty chair. It spooked me. An empty chair, such a simple and direct symbol of their dead son.

      Hashem Yinkom Damom