It is currently August summer vacation in Israel. Most children have finished summer camp, and are home with their parents, or guardians as they eagerly await school to start in September. I opted to keep my kids home with me, and enjoy this time together. Although there were summer camp options here, I decided that we would find fun things to do together, and pepper that with trips to the pool, etc.
Our first adventures were a Trip Camp that we organized with our local resident tour guide, Leiah Jaffe. We set out together on terrific local adventures to the Eretz Israel Museum (Tel Aviv), the Israel Museum (Jerusalem), the Dead Sea, Qumran Caves, Ein Zokim (Dead Sea area spring), and Beit Shearim. All of these trips were geared for young kids, and their parents to enjoy together. Leiah Jaffe always peppered the trips with stories, activities, fun games and plays for the kids to enjoy!
When we are not touring the country, I take the kids on Mommy Day adventures. Our most recent adventure was taking the youngest two kids of my family to the movies in Tel Aviv. We went to Dizengoff Center, and found a local movie theater showing the movie my kids have been aching to see, How to Train Your Dragon 2.
I had never seen the first movie, nor had I seen it in Hebrew, but I figured this would be an adventure for all of us; for my kids to see Tel Aviv, and for me to sit through a sequel of a movie in Hebrew.
The movie is basically a tale of evil forces vs. good forces. A huge battle ensues, and the forces are tested to determine which will prevail over a land of Viking type glory. Living here in Israel, it was not too hard to make the comparisons between art and life. There was one line that really brought it home for me, and many other parents in the theater. One character asks “Why do they[sic. the evil forces in the movie] hate us, so? I do not understand?” The other character wisely answers “Sometimes, the forces of evil prevail, and convince all around them of their darkness…to the point that no one is aware of how dark and evil they have become…they are soldiers of the fight of evil, without entirely thinking of what they have become.” [Please note that I am translating the Hebrew, and I am sure that this was said differently in the English version.] At the moment I, and every other parent in the theater, began to cry. I heard muffled sounds of sniffling, and I knew that everyone in the Tel Aviv theater was thinking of Operation Protective Shield, and the evil forces of Hamas vs. the forces of our brave IDF.
My kids heard me sniffle, and saw the tears. They did not know what to do. Mommies are not supposed to cry! And, especially not in movies! But, then I saw my 6 year old daughter wipe a tear from her own eyes. And, I grabbed my kids, and held them tight, as I grappled with the emotional overflow of tears in this simple movie about good and bad dragons.
Eventually, the movie ended. No, I will not spoil it for you. But, the message was clear that the Viking village was happy and peaceful again, with a new, courageous entourage of dragons to help them prevail. Of course, the movie was left open-ended for another sequel.
As we left the theater, my kids began talking about the movie, and the possibility of a How To Drain Your Dragon 3. We talked about what the movie reminded them of, and they immediately said “the War, Mommy.” They openly saw the mashal(comparison) of the evil forces of dragons being similar to Hamas, and the good forces of dragons being like the IDF. And, then my son said, “The IDF is going to always be ahead, just like the good dragons, Mommy!” I reached out to him, and gave him a big hug and a kiss.
“Art and life,” I thought “sometimes really do imitate each other.” Yet it takes very powerful eyes to see it. I suggest that you all take your families and your loved ones to this movie. Parents, you may want a pack of tissues, just a warning. But, please make sure to talk to your family afterwards about the message of this movie. Help your children understand the nuances of war, through the simple mashal of dragons.