Going home, back to the place where I belong

(Lyrics from Daughtry, “Home”)

These are the words that keep popping into my head for the past few days.

I’m surrounded by a sea of blue and white. During the Pesach holiday flags and streamers began appearing overnight, all over the neighbourhood. Even cars are waving flags. This is my favourite time of year in Israel. For 17 years I missed being in Israel for the two weeks immediately following Pesach. My last Yom HaAtzmaut here was celebrating Israel’s 50th year, this year we celebrate 67!

The week after Pesach is Yom HaShoah, which we marked last Thursday. At 10am a 2 minute siren sounds, and the country stops to remember the 6  million Jews murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust. To experience the siren cannot be described accurately. Even the dog understood that something important was going down, and she simply let out a low bark, before bowing her head, and laying down on the ground. The children all had special learning at school that day, and we spoke at length about the Shoah and the horrific impact that it had, not just on those who lived through it, but future generations. Something changed in my kids that day. There was suddenly something different about them. It’s almost as if they get it now. Why this is home. Why we brought them here. Why we can never let “them” win.

This week, on Tuesday night and again on Wednesday morning, we will have a siren again, this time to remember Israel’s fallen soldiers, and victims of terror. My younger two kids are having a ceremony at their school early Wednesday morning, and my son is taking part in Daglanut – if you recall, last year I posted videos of the Daglanut ceremony from Ben Gamla. He is also one of two flag holders who will escort soldiers to light a candle at the school’s memorial. I have no words to describe the pride I feel, and I haven’t even seen him do it yet! Oh  yes, there will be pictures, and hopefully video.

As Wednesday progresses towards evening, the cafes will slowly start to open again, the melancholy music on the radio will begin to sound a little more upbeat, and the streets will start to fill up. As we approach the festivities of this week, I’ve noticed my kids are starting to throw in more Hebrew words to their everyday vocabulary. I see the smiles on their faces as they point out all the flags on buildings. I hear them singing along to some of the Hebrew songs on the radio when they think I’m not listening. It’s as if they are suddenly Israeli. They still have a long way to go, but I have a feeling that Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut will be a turning point for them. Yom HaShoah was the starting point, when they started to “feel” it, that they are part of something bigger.

Last year I posted about the void I felt for the 16 years I wasn’t here to celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut. This year, that void is filled. I’m home, I’m back where I belong, with my family, in our country.

Chag Sameach.


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Anonymous
    Apr 19, 2015 @ 19:52:29

    Really beautiful Vanessa. kol Hakavod


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