This evening I took the kids to a community event in honor of Yom Hazikaron (Israeli Memorial Day) and Yom Haatzmaut (Independence Day). It wouldn’t have been on my radar if I hadn’t been contacted by two different organizers and asked to participate. Towards the end of the program, there is a segment in which people in the community who will be learning in Israel for the year or moving to Israel are asked to come up and light a candle. We were contacted to be part of that segment.
Yesterday I told one organizer that my kids might be able to attend, but dh was working and I had a consult followed by an interview (for an article about homeschooling) scheduled for that time, so as much as I would have liked to participate, it wasn’t realistic for me to be there. Then this afternoon, the person who had wanted the consultation had a sore throat and couldn’t talk, so we cancelled for this evening. What was really nice about this was it allowed me to go with the kids for the event, though I told them I’d still have to leave early to go to the interview and they could walk home themselves.
I didn’t know what to expect, but the event was very nicely done. It was a nice blend of memorial/somber and celebration/joy, and the kids were for the most part interested throughout the entire 2 hour presentation (the littles were a bit restless toward the end, but were great for the most part). I myself felt very emotional about the Yom Hazikaron part -I particularly as my children get older, I really feel how young the soldiers in the army actually are, just 18, and how many of them have died to protect their fellow Jews. And I think of their mothers, fathers, siblings, spouses…
The Yom Hazikaron section was followed by the Yom Haatzmaut section – it was very appropriate to organize the evening like this, which led to me to think about how appropriate it is to have the two days as national holidays in Israel one after the other. Honoring the sacrifices before celebrating what they sacrificed for.
At about 8:35, I realized that if I pushed off the interview for 10 or 15 minutes (until 9:10), I could stay with the kids for when they went on stage and then take them home. The only challenge was I didn’t have the number for the woman I was supposed to meet with me and couldn’t find a phone book in the building, and the only thing I could think of was to drive home, call her, and drive back (about a ten minute process). The challenge was that I didn’t know exactly when our family was supposed to get called up, and by leaving for ten minutes at that point, I wouldn’t be able to go up with the kids (though the kids had been planning to go on stage without me, we all preferred that I be with them).
Just as I told the kids I had to leave, I suddenly heard them announce our name – I hadn’t expected to be the first ones called up for this portion of the evening! The reason they highlight this is an encouragement to the families making this choice, as well as to the families here to see that people are making this move. I was especially glad we agreed to be there, since we ended up being the only family moving to Israel who was able to participate – usually there are a number of families who participate in this part of the program, but this year, everyone else either wasn’t available, was uncomfortable being on stage, or isn’t yet ready to be public about their plans to move.
So it worked out perfectly: we were introduced, went on stage, lit a candle, and then zipped out to the van. While the kids strapped in, I called the woman to tell her I’d be ten minutes late (I forgot that I had asked one of the kids to bring the local phone list to the van right before we left home – had I remembered, I would have spared myself some mental pressure), and then dropped the kids off at home before zooming off to my appointment. (And with all of my worrying about being late, I made it there just 4 minutes after our originally scheduled time.)
We had scheduled from 9 – 10 pm to talk, but I ended up being there until 11:20; it was very comfortable chatting with her. You never know how people perceive you so it will be interesting to see the article when the magazine comes out (it should be in the next three weeks, before the conference).