Yom Ha’atzmaut 2021. During the rest of the year we hear so many criticisms and complaints about Israel, from within and without. But today is the day to celebrate everything that is so beautiful and incredible about our country. I love watching the lighting of the “masuot” (torches) and I am so moved by the bravery, diversity and dedication of the men and women, from so many different backgrounds, young and old, who light the torches.
I found 3 of them particularly moving this year:
1. IDF Major Maor Cohen, who works to draft special populations and volunteers into the army. As if that is not enough, he is also known as the “Lego Guy” for spending countless hours through Ezer Mizion bringing lego sets to children with cancer and building them with them. He lit the torch and blessed the brave kids fighting cancer that he should one day draft them into the IDF!
2. Mori Yaish Giyat, a 102(!!) year old Yemenite wise man, who preserves and teaches Yemenite traditions and is a sofer (scribe). One of the first settlers of Ashkelon, he still volunteers to help pass on traditions of learning and healing to his community. When he lit the torch he said “there are no religious, no secular, ‘all your people are tzaddikim’ (righteous).”
3. Shira Isakov and Adi Guzi – Two incredibly brave women who are advocating for saving women from domestic violence. Shira Isakov was nearly murdered this year by her husband and her incredibly brave neighbor Adi Guzi, who hardly knew her, ran into the apartment and saved her. The image of them lighting will hopefully give strength to the women who, especially this year, have needed it.
I am proud to share these images and stories, just a few of the countless others that have weaved together our society. L’tiferet Medinat Yisrael! For the glory of the state of Israel!