The Reflection Before The Party

Thursday is Independence Day. You can feel it in the air already that everyone is preparing to have a great day of fun. Some are going to the beach. Some are traveling to family and friends. Pretty much everyone is going to have a barbecue. But first...first we will have a day of solemn reflection.

Tomorrow is Memorial Day. When I lived in the United States, Memorial Day usually was a time to reflect on my grandfather who passed away from cancer which came as a result of radiation poisoning in the Navy. I would think of the men and women who served and fell in battle in Iraq and Afghanistan while serving our nation.

On Thursday the state of Israel will turn 67 years old. However there are 67 people who will not be taking part in the celebration. These are the 67 soldiers who fell in battle while protecting me and my family as rockets fell from the skies and air raid sirens wailed at all times of day and night. This year I will be remembering those young soldiers who fought to protect MY life. The lives of my family members. Of my friends here in the land of Israel.

I didn't know any of these people personally, but I'm not kidding myself. A friend of mine was in Gaza last summer and the soldier next to him was critically wounded. Move a few feet over and a friend of mine could have lost his life.

In her blog post earlier today, my friend Romi wrote about her experience moving to Israel during the Intifada in 2001. She felt, as I do, that it wasn't even a question. Yes our enemies are right here, in our faces. Yes things can get hot and scary and dangerous. But who am I to sit on the sidelines and watch? I believe with all my heart that Israel has a right to continue to exist as a Jewish state. What better way to make that statement than to raise my children as Jews who keep, respect, and understand Torah values, here in the Jewish state of Israel?

On Thursday I can party. Tomorrow, I'll remember and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for my freedom.

May HaShem console all those who are mourning the loss of family and friends. I simply cannot imagine the pain.

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