From sorrow to celebration: Karmiel always puts on a very moving memorial service on erev Yom Hazikaron. Our mayor, Adi Aldar, has the knack for keeping his speeches short, and the other participants were all spot-on. Only in Israel do you get high-ranking army officers reading poetry. The memorial flame at our site is amazing—a play of fire and water together to stir the senses. It is always so poignant to hear the names and see the faces of the almost 100 men and women from Karmielwho have lost their lives defending this country. And standing side by side with hundreds of city residents, in silent contemplation during the siren, or responding during kadish, or singing Hatikvah together… it is quite a feeling.
The next day had me running frantic errands, including what should have been a ten minute stop at the bank. Unfortunately, there were many people waiting, and I had to deal with a clerk who is not my usual point of contact (and who, sadly, is a bit slow on doing overseas bank transfers). I was counting on being outside when the siren went off (on Yom Hazikaron there is a one-minute siren at 20:00 on the evening, and a two-minute siren at 11:00 on the day). I like being outside and watching traffic halt, watching people get out of their cars and stand at attention. But sure enough, we were smack dab in the middle of the wire transfer when the siren went off. Suddenly, the noise and chatter inside the bank is cut off as if someone flipped a switch. Everyone, customers and bank employees are on their feet, silent. The world stops. Nothing moves but the flickering yartzeit candles. As the sirens wind down, people come back to life and go on with their business. It is beautifully surreal and one of those intangible joys of living in Israel.
As Yom Hazikaron winds down, we go straight into Yom HaAtzma’ut (our independence day). Fireworks, festivals, speeches, dance performances, singers, you name it. Unfortunately, I end up being too tired to attend any shows. The big shows in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem are broadcast; I see Tony Blair sitting next to Ehud Barak, and watch a dazzling lineup of Israeli stars perform on the big stage at Har Hertzl. But I can’t stay awake long enough for our local fireworks. Oh, well.
So in celebration of Israel’s 60th year, Nadine performs this special dance. (She dedicates it not only to Israel, but to Freddie, the orange fluff-bomb of her dreams.)