Helen Weiss Pincus

Salute to Israel Parade 2024

It was noisy, hot, crowded. Tank-like double strollers pushed thru the crowded, filled sidewalks. We bumped into old friends, new friends, reconnected with forgotten friends. We comforted overwhelmed children. We sweated, laughed, cried and sang. We stood in line for bathrooms – several times. The day was a study in blue and white – Israeli flags were draped over shoulders, t-shirts proclaiming so much were worn by parade marchers.

Seventy-six years ago in a Lower East Side tenement my Eastern European parents, newly American citizens, listened to the UN vote for founding the State of Israel. Each time a ‘yes’ vote was cast my mother bounced me, her first born-in-the USA child, on her knees.

At the parade I felt like a tired old lady. But I also felt like a proud Bubby and Mother – four of my grand children and two of my children were there. Together we sang, cried, cheered, sweated, and chanted, even my 3-year-old granddaughter, “Bring them home! Bring them home!” Believing, maybe believing, hoping, praying, that something would change. something.

Until the day of, I was not sure I was going to the parade, to be one of the counted ones. But then, miraculously, we were on the way, thanks to my daughter’s driving skills, and somehow …. I was in the car. Somehow we parked (in a garage). We found the parade and were engulfed in a feeling that…I can’t….the words are beyond me….but we were engulfed. For those moments something was very right in this terrifying, uncertain time of courage and trepidation. We sang, we chanted.

I’m sure I was there ……. Hugging my children and the grands, cheering the marchers, passing through the metal detectors again and again, watching a man with a sweet open face looking for men willing to put on tefillin. I think it was real.

At home in bed, exhausted, I still believe the last few hours of whatever strange miracle had just happened was real. I drifted off to a dream of radiant blue and white Stars of David setting off metal detectors playing Hatikvah.

About the Author
Award-win­ning jour­nal­ist and free­lance writer, Helen Weiss Pin­cus, has taught mem­oir writ­ing and cre­ative writ­ing through­out the NY Metro area to senior cit­i­zens and high school stu­dents. Her work has been pub­lished in The New York Times, The Record, The Link, The Jew­ish Stan­dard, and oth­er pub­li­ca­tions.