Today was Memorial Day in Israel. It’s one of the hardest days of the year for me. I remember our fallen soldiers, our victims of terrorist attacks, the heavy price of independence, and I mourn, along with all my fellow Israelis. I know it’s hard for people outside of Israel to understand the extent of our mourning, because it is hard for those from larger nations to comprehend a nation so small that everyone is barely two degrees away from anyone else. Everyone here has lost someone in a war, in a terrorist attack, or both. And as we are always portrayed in the media as the aggressors, land thieves and child killers, it is hard for anyone outside to understand just how deeply we want to beat our swords into plowshares and know no more war. We aren’t pacifists. We will fight evil until the end. We just wish that evil would finally give up so that we can all go sit under our grapevines, thankyouverymuch.
And now it’s Independence Day, which began tonight, and I always enter it emotionally exhausted from Memorial Day. Memorial Day for me is spent reliving the Second Lebanon War. The war Cloud Man served in. The month long war that I spent wondering, did he not answer his cell phone because he’s too busy? Or because he never will again?
That month-long war was the most horrible month of my life, and yet I know full well that I am blessed. Cloud Man, like most of the others, came home. Most. There’s so much pain behind that word. So much loss. And that was just one war, a “small” one, one in which most of the country was able to maintain their normal lives, and I clung to that normalcy like a lifebuoy.
As I am working through the memories, suddenly, it’s Independence Day, the 63rd one, and the whole country has gone manic with celebration. Of course, I joined. I have the amazing privilege doing my very little bit in building our imperfect, struggling, crazy little society. One in which a toddler has her first taste of fireworks and cotton candy celebrating independence in the land that her great grandparents could only dream of.
She liked it.
It’s an honor.
Happy Independence Day.
I would like to thank Tamar Yonah for the opportunity to be on her show. You can download or listen here: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Radio/News.aspx/3029
My interview about the Korean Talmud is at 1:05:42.
Anyone else find it interesting how fascinated we are by people who are fascinated by us? Considering our history, it’s certainly an unusual experience.
Oh, and just in case you really can’t believe that Korean parents are looking to our people for a model of education, a friend of ours in South Korea sent us this link to his kids’ preschool, The International Art School in Seoul. This is a Korean school, and the link takes you to the English translation of the site. Click on the word “what” and you will find the following copy:
Perhaps the most multicultural group on the earth are the Jews. Centuries in exile from their homeland of Israel required them to adapt to the cultures and learn the languages of their resident countries while remaining true to the culture of their ancestors. This is one reason why the Jews have found success far beyond their numbers in fields as diverse as art, science, and information technology. At the INTERNATIONAL ART SCHOOL we attempt to mimic these conditions by immersing children in a multicultural, multilingual learning environment as part of a structured regimen of instruction.
When the kids become too successful in school, do the teachers steal their property, expel them, and then force them to wander the streets until another school takes them in?
I know, I know, they’re just being buzzword compliant. But that’s the amazing thing: Jewish success as a positive is now a buzzword outside of our community, too. Personally, I think that the Koreans are pretty darned smart themselves, and have made awesome strides in the past 60 years. In that short time they have built the 15th largest economy in terms of GDP in the world; I’m not sure they really need our help. it’s a huge compliment that they are looking to us for fresh ideas to take them into the future. A greater flow of ideas between South Korea and Israel can only strengthen us both.