According to my birth certificate, I was born in the month of February on the first day. I was not only born on a certain date, I was also born into something. The newborn Prince George doesn’t know it yet, but he was born into something too. He was born into British royalty which trials a long lineage and much family history. His roots stop at King Offa in 757. I was not born into royalty and am not sorry about that at all. Seven-five-seven is not an attractive number.
I was born with into a unique heritage. I cannot trace the exact date, but I wouldn’t miss celebrating it. It goes back a lot further than George’s, that I can tell you. I could celebrate 4,000 years of being part of the people of Israel or celebrate 3,000 years of being part of the ancient country of Israel. To complicate matters, I could also celebrate the birth of the modern Jewish State of Israel which celebrates 66 years tomorrow.
It is most convenient that I made the Jewish State of Israel my home on the 1st February; otherwise there would be another date to celebrate, namely almost 30 years of living in Israel. After much deliberation, I have temporarily solved part of the problem by symbolically celebrating everything on Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day). This is now the temporary-permanent solution of how to celebrate who I am and what I am. If I succeed in passing the relevance of this existential problem onto my children, then I will be content that I have confused them with the unsolvable, and thus ensured that they celebrate more than the dates on their birth certificates.
Whew! If you have problems understanding the above, just imagine trying to write it! Okay, party time? No, not just yet.
I have always said that Israel is a hot country. Today is 39 degrees (102F) and I’m nowhere near any desert area. It’s not only the weather that makes Israel hot. Everything is hot. The women for example, but that kind of hot is supposed to be left out of this address. Before we celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut which is very hot and lively, we have a memorial day – “The Day of Remembrance for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism”. This day precedes Independence Day by 24 hours.
Rememberance Day is hot. It is the day when the warmth in our hearts goes out to meet the renewed burning tears of those who lost loved ones. It is the day when our victims of terror and war are warmed in memory. It is the day when we warm each other standing silently in solitude during the sounding of the sirens. It is the day when we rekindle the fires of commitment to burn away those who wish to harm us. And, it is the day in which we refuel the spark of hope that we will see peace soon.
The emergence from Remembrance Day into Independence Day brings another type of heat, and I am not referring to barbeques. The fiery pulse of Israel comes alive with people putting sorrow back in its rightful place and then scurrying around to start celebrating. Just a few days prior to Independence Day, we sit in silence watching how others gassed our fates in Europe’s ovens. Independence Day is the opposite, and it is this independence that enables us to thrive as a nation, as a people with restored self-determination in our own homeland.
Now it is time to party!
We are alive on this day, with all our problematic hotspots and complexities. It does not take much to see how vibrantly colourful we are and how far we have progressed. It is thoroughly heartwarming to realize that no matter the challenges, the threats and problems, we beat on in compassion and warmth. Intel’s $6 billion investment is hot, solar energy tech is hot, the arguments in parliament are heated, the hospitality is heartwarming, the clubs are electrifying and the beachgoers are even hotter.
To be in Israel, to proudly fly the Israeli flag, to celebrate the day with children who speak Hebrew, who learn tanach and are members of Jewish youth movements, is the best birthday-heritage present one could ever wish for. Next year in Jerusalem Prince George!