Many times we are so focused on the present, the here-and-now, and the future, the where-are-we-going, that we don’t spend the time reflecting on the past, the where-we-came-from. Unless of course, we’re sitting in history class. And if you’re like me, you didn’t necessarily enjoy history class.
The truth is, we owe it to the past generations to remember them. My husband’s grandmother, Bubba, as we affectionately call her, a Holocaust survivor, always says: “Without me, none of this would be!” And she’s right. We can’t take our life for granted when so many struggles were made before us, so that our life would be easier.
Living in Israel now, this idea is always on my mind. Especially this month when 3 special days will happen in the next two weeks. The 3 days are, Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom HaShoah), Memorial Day (Yom HaZikaron), and Israel’s Independence Day (Yom HaAtzmaut).
On Yom HaShoah, we remember the 6,000,000 Jews that were murdered by the Nazis, because they were Jews. A siren is heard throughout the country, symbolizing the time to stop whatever it is you are doing, to remember. To just stop. To stop walking, driving, putting the fork into your mouth. To feel the pain and anguish of the past generation, that was brutally taken too early from this world. To think what could have been if they weren’t. If they lived.
And then after the Holocaust, it was time for a Jewish army, The Israeli Defense Force, that was founded in May 1948, by David Ben-Gurion. We finally had our own country, once again, to defend. To live in. To live in proudly. No one would hurt us again. But time and again, our brave, heroic, larger-than-life, soldiers, have been killed. And it isn’t fair. We’ve hurt enough. On Yom HaZikaron, we pay tribute to these soldiers. And to thank their families for the ultimate sacrifice they made on behalf of the State of Israel and its citizens. And we hope and pray that no more are taken from us. That God will always watch over them, and protect them.
It’s only after we take the time to remember the past that we can celebrate what we have accomplished and attained. Literally, the day after Yom HaZikaron, we celebrate Israel. And life. We celebrate the creation of the State of Israel. That we have returned home to our rightful homeland. After so much despair, and so much destruction. We are home. And we will celebrate- with waving flags, and hot Barbecues, and music blasting from the speakers. And laughter, and joy, and smiles, and feelings of hope for a bright future. On a personal and global level.
And I am happy to say, that my family is here, in Israel. Alongside all the other Israelis that are proud of our heritage and our homeland. It feels so good to say Israel is our home. After a long day out traveling the countryside, my kids turn to me, and say, “Let’s go home to Yerushalayim.” They call Yerushalayim their home.
It wasn’t so simple getting them excited for the move to Israel- to leave behind everything they were comfortable with. But I think we did a pretty good job acclimating them to their new home. And they love it.
There is a phrase that has stuck with me my whole life: “Remember the past, live the present, and trust the future.” –Nachum Segal. And I think that epitomizes the next two weeks in Israel. I hope that when future generations look back, they see a past that they can be proud of- a past that respected their past generations and prayed for a wonderful future.