We are in the midst of one of the most unique periods on the Israeli calendar – the consecutive, deeply emotional Remembrance Day and Independence Day. And this year, these 48 hours are of a kind the country has never experienced before, under a complete closure due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Bereaved families are commemorating Remembrance Day without going on the traditional pilgrimage to their loved ones’ graves and receiving visits and strength from their army friends.
Likewise, when the transition begins tonight from the solemnity of Remembrance Day – when we weigh all the human sacrifice that went into establishing and defending the world’s only Jewish state – to the celebration of Independence Day, when we rejoice not only in our existence but in our vitality, it will be unlike any other that came before it.
Instead of gathering in parks tonight and Wednesday to watch fireworks, listen and dance to music and honor Israel’s 72nd birthday, people are going to be sequestered in their homes with their nuclear families, watching the annual televised ceremony of torch lighters (filmed earlier in the week without an audience) and lighting up the grill for just a handful of participants.
But that doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be celebration and pride in abundance. During the current crisis, Israelis have proved their mettle in so many different ways. Like all the peoples of the world, we’ve been forced to recalibrate, drastically change our lifestyles and forego much of what we take for granted in our daily lives.
What have we learned from the past two months? One lesson is that we can get by with a lot less: transportation and gas, impulse buying, going out to restaurants and the movies, commuting to work…. The list can go on and on. Continue Reading….