A Mountain of Sorrows

Paula R. Stern,

לבן ריק
לבן ריק
צילום: ערוץ 7
Paula R. Stern
Paula R. Stern is CEO and founder of WritePoint Ltd., a leading technical writing company offering documentation services and training seminars. She made aliyah in 1993 when her oldest son was 6 years old. In March 2007, Elie entered the Artillery Division of the Israeli army and Paula began writing about her experiences as A Soldier"s Mother. The blog continues as Elie moved on to Reserve Duty, her second son, Shmuel served in Kfir and continues as her youngest son David now serves in Givati. She recently opened a publishing house, helping other authors fulfill their dream to publish. Links to the Author's blogs: * A Soldier"s MotherPaulaSays Israel Blogger...

Today is like a huge mountain in front of us...you have to get over it to get to the other side. You work, you travel, you do what you do on a normal day...just knowing that it's almost no use - because no matter what you accomplish, there's that mountain there. Only this is a special mountain. In most cases, the sooner you start something, the sooner you can finish it. If you start driving 10 minutes before you planned to, chances are, you'll get to the end of the road just a bit sooner; if you start climbing a path, no matter how rough, the more you move, it would seem the less you have ahead of you. Logical, but not for this mountain.

Today in Israel, before us we have a mountain of sorrow, of sadness, of pain, of loss. We can start climbing today or tonight. Many in Israel have already started; even more climb that mountain almost without end every day of their lives and at some point began to understand that the mountain will, in many ways, always be with them, their path to traverse, their challenge. Sometimes, for them, today and tomorrow are a bit easier because all of Israel walks beside them, holds them in our hearts and listens as they speak of sons and daughters, husbands, wives, parents...our hearts break with theirs, but theirs stay broken.

For most of Israel, we know the mountain's end will come in sight tomorrow night around 8:00 p.m. We know the two hardest times of all will be tonight at exactly 8:00 p.m. and tomorrow morning at exactly 11:00 a.m. At those times, we will stand in silence while our hearts cry out. Our thoughts will go to those we knew, those who are no more. Or we'll think of their families. Or we'll pray for our own sons and daughters. This year, we'll think about the three teens - Eyal, Naftali and Gilad. And the 67 soldiers and civilians who died during the war this past summer. We'll think of Shalom Yohai Sherki, who was run down and killed last week in Jerusalem in a terrorist attack and of the four rabbis axed to death, and the baby, little Chaya Zissel Braun, who was only three months old when she was murdered. On and on, 23,320 times we will mourn this year.

The other side of the mountain is a huge celebration simply that we are still here 67 years later. We'll get over this mountain of sorrow, already knowing on the other side is Israel's 67th Independence Day. What other country in the world celebrates their independence day as a mark that others haven't succeeded in destroying us!

So, tomorrow night all over Israel, there will be fireworks and barbecues and celebrations. There will be laughter and tears of happiness, parties in the streets and such an outpouring of sheer and unlimited joy. But first, the mountain. Today, already, we are dreading the coming hours.

Memorial day in Israel begins tonight at 8:00 p.m. We will remember those who have fallen so that the next day, we can celebrate. We will remember those who were murdered simply because they lived here (or even were just visiting).

There are no barbecues in this country tomorrow, no celebrations, no sales. Unlike some other places, we mourn our dead to the depths of our souls. There are no parades of veterans, like the one that passed my front door as a child in New Jersey. Here, for the most part, the mourning is done quietly. People try to be just a bit more there for the friends and families. Each year, there are more names added. This year, the first after Operation Tsuk Eitan (Protective Edge)...which was a war, not an operation despite what the official title might be...67 more lost...67 years of independence.

So tonight we'll climb that mountain together here in Israel. We'll cry for all we lost, all we had to give up, all of what will never be...and for all of tonight and most of tomorrow, we'll grieve so deeply we'll never really believe there is another side to the huge mountain in front of us.

For now, there is nothing more...23,320 soldiers and terror victims since the founding of the State of Israel...23,320....