When growing up in Brooklyn, I recall the twice a year guests in our little shul. During the High Holy Days even the public school kids came with their white or black satin,"Bar Mitzvah" yarmulkas perched awkwardly on their heads. I remember gazing at their shiny leather shoes on Yom Kippur and thinking,"don't they know anything! But it was clear to me that as strange as they may have felt holding a siddur - they wanted badly to be counted as one of their people. I
That was long time ago,
I now live in Israel where I celebrate an additional set of High Holy Days - ones I never knew in Brooklyn.
After Pesach begins a national emotional roller coaster.
Beginning with the sad introspective Holocaust Remembrance Day and the Soldiers Memorial Day, to the celebrations of Independence Day and Yom Yerushalayim,in quick pace, the heart is torn in so many directions.
Is there an Israeli version of the bewildered boy with the satin skull cap? Perhaps. The country stands still together when the two minute siren is heard.We bow our collective heads in memory and prayer. Well, most join. There are two, otherwise very different groups who do not.
Some of our brothers have not been able to step out of Brooklyn... or Warsaw or Vilna. The Jewish state, its army, celebrations and commemorations were not supposed to happen. Proper Jewish life was rudely disturbed when the Jewish people came home and reconnect to the land of our love. They seem to be struggling with an unexpected surprise for which they were just not ready .I am confident that this gap will narrow with time.
The other group in Israel who do not stand when the siren wails are Israel's Arabs.They used to be a bit discreet about just not being in a public area when the rest of the country stood in silence. However lately our Independence day is their loudly proclaimed "Nakba"(disaster) day of rage and protest. Waving PLO flags and marching against the Jewish state , these citizens bewail the failure of the Arabs to succeed in committing genocide against the Jews of Israel in 1948. Tough day for them.
Its not easy living in the only democracy in the Mid East . Of course their "narrative" is supported by many of our very own "intelligentsia" like former Education Minister Yuli Tamir who included the Nakba "narrative" for all Jewish children to learn.
Celebrated Israeli writer Amoz Oz ( a founder of "Peace Now") has recently compared the "price tag" graffiti scribblers, to the Nazis. It is assumed that these "Nazis" are embittered teens who are striking back at murdering Arabs and an unresponsive, indifferent establishment., though none have been prosecuted yet.
The same Amos Oz falls over himself in his praise of PLO chief Marwan Barghuti, serving six life sentences for the brutal murder of dozens of Jewish men women and children. He rushed to his prison cell to him a copy of his latest book. For whom does he stand when the siren wails?
Then there is late Prof. Yishayahu Leibowitz. He coined the phrase "Judo- Nazi" to describe Israelis who believe that it is indeed our right to live in all parts of our land. His grand son chose to represent Mr Barghouti in court and described him as "great a leader of his people as Moses was for his."
Why is that our media refers to "price tag" as "hate crimes" but when a young Jewish girl is murdered by terrorists it is a "nationalist motivated act". Did they not murder the young girl because they hated the Jew in her? Or is it just a matter of "narrative"?
I imagine that the Spring high Holy days must be a confusing time for these guardians of morality.
I thank God that I have returned to the place where the only really important narrative is unfolding before my eyes. It is indeed a roller coaster at times and I hope all my fellow Jews will join. It is after all, a great ride