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Israel's High Holy Days

By Shalom Pollack
5/12/2014, 8:05 PM

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