Today is Yom Haatzmaut, otherwise known as Israeli Independence Day.
Though no country is perfect, I find it astonishing that in a little less than three-quarters of a century, she has become a vibrant, thriving democracy. Out of the desert and the memory of a thousand generations in exile, a modern country has risen. Through blood, sweat, tears, and the belief in a higher power, she has become the vision that has kept Judaism alive.
In his vision, the prophet sees himself standing in the valley full of dry human bones. He is commanded to carry a prophecy. Before him, the bones connect into human figures; then the bones become covered with tendon tissues, flesh, and skin. Then God reveals the bones to the prophet as the People of Israel in exile and commands the Prophet to carry another prophecy in order to revitalize these human figures, to resurrect them, and to bring them to the Land of Israel.
Happy Birthday Israel, may you live to see another 73 years and many more after that.
Today is both a day to celebrate and a day to remember. We celebrate because we have returned to the land of our ancestors. We can physically follow and pray in the footsteps of past generations who have long since shuffled off this mortal coil.
But we also remember those who gave their lives and those who continue to give their lives for Israel. I think most, if not all of us are aware that Israel lives in a neighborhood in which relations with their neighbors is tenuous at best.
I have had the pleasure of visiting Israel twice so far in my life. I can only describe both experiences as life altering. I hope to be able, at some point in the future, go for a third time.
May those who gave their lives for Israel’s security and freedom forever a blessing and may we continue to celebrate Yom Haatzmaut for many years to come.
I don’t want to tell you about the Israel that you see on the news. We all get enough of that when we turn on our televisions or open the local newspaper. I want to tell you about Israel that I have been to and I hope that one day, you will visit Israel for yourself.
Foodies will be in high heaven when they visit Israel. There are more than enough options to please any palate (vegan included). I haven’t been to Israel since 2005, but my mouth waters at the memory of some of the food that was consumed.
The beaches in Tel Aviv are some of the most beautiful beaches on earth.
If there is one place that you visit in Israel, I recommend that you go to the Dead Sea. Besides the skin-nourishing mud, floating in the Dead Sea is an experience that you must have for yourself.
And finally, for the history buff, Jerusalem is the ultimate one-two punch of history and the modern world. One cannot help but see where the past and the present collide.
Happy 71st birthday, Israel. May you have 71 more.
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