a series of remembrances.

Remembering is something we do with our hearts, our eyes, our noses, & our ears. When song is wrapped around a moment, it makes it so much more golden and sacred to me.

I feel the ripples still from the waves of grief and pride I encountered from Thursday to just last night. The waves rushed to shore upon Holocaust Remembrance Day–a day where I felt the poignant loss and suffering of my people. Going to the museum that time of year was so special. I was able to reconnect where my last visit left off. I was first exposed to the Holocaust Revisionists–the people that pass themselves off as scholars when they are really simply Holocaust Deniers.  Holocaust Revisionists refuse to accept testimonials and events as written not just in our history books and the journals of the suffering but in blood and ash. It is disgusting to learn that there are such people that stand on a soapbox with followers, with naive crowds of young people and Anti-Semites as they shout forth that Adolph Hitler and the Nazis never meant to kill the Jews at all, only to move them somewhere else, out of the way. I’m hoping to learn more about how I can get involved with the people that fight out against these so-called Revisionists and their hateful agenda.

I was able to go to a very special service to honor the fallen civilians and soldiers on Memorial Day that was put on by Masa. It was beautiful and I was brought to tears multiple times–especially during the singing of ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay that was performed after several videos of heroic soldiers were shown. I was also extremely touched by Natan Sharansky’s speech about his Memorial Day that was spent in prison.

It was a really special and beautiful night that was sad, yes, but also filled with pride and love for a country that is truly like no other. It is the one place, the only place, that the Jewish people consider the holiest, the richest spiritually and culturally. The only place where biblical Hebrew is spoken and understood by the majority, not just in a synagogue or bar mitzvah. It is a country in which Israelis and Jews from all over the world have fought, have sacrificed, have loved, and have lost. It is a country where most cynical 18-25 year old Jews are shocked to find a deep and pulsing connection to during a mere 10 days of Taglit.

Being in Israel, living in Israel, has released another part of my identity that was locked away for all of my young life until this point. I never understood the feeling of patriotism, gratefulness, pride, zionism, or home in such a profound way.

I felt all of these things accumulating on the night of the Memorial Day ceremony and the next day at Mount Herzl. The feelings rose into the air on the night of Independence Day to the point where the sky couldn’t contain so many emotions without bursting into loud and jubilant fireworks, cracking and illuminating the dark desert skies.

About the Author
Melissa Beiser has a bachelor's degree from SUNY New Paltz in English and creative writing. She hails from New York originally and recently relocated to Arizona with her family. Teaching English in Beersheba is her first experience living abroad.