Sunday, May 3, 2009

Yom HaAtzmaute

I know I should have posted on Yom HaAtzmaute sooner, but better late than never I guess.

To be honest, I was so incredibly homesick on Yom HaAtzmaute that I almost did not go anywhere. Believe it or not I was missing sitting at a program that I hated going to full of people I mostly did not want to see, making snarky comments with my sister.

But I went anyway. The tefillat chagigit at shul was really nice. Parts of tefillah were done to various traditional Israeli music, and we finished with tehillim to Hatikva.

Channah at Tefillah at shul. Yes our shul has plastic lawn chairs.

From there we walked up to one of the central streets in RBSA and around to a park not far from here. It was the gathering point for the "parade" to the "City-wide" (minus some flag burning nut jobs over in RBSB) tekes (ceremony).

After shul on our way to the "parade"

It was so old-worldy. People were there, alone and in families, with flags and torches. No, not candles. Torches. These things were like havdalah candles on steroids!

The parade

We walked from the park, across the centre of the top of RBSA and to the ulam sport (open air basket ball court and wannabe fitness centre). Once we got there we went up the stairs and into a "carnival". There was food and glowy toys and some giant inflatable kids jumping/climbing/bouncing things. We went into the seating area where there was a pretty good live band and people dancing. We were shocked to see so many normal looking people in RBS- there was even mixed seating! I know. We are all going to hell. Celebrating the medina with mixed seating and live music durring sefira. Oh well. At least I know I will have some nice looking company!

We spent the rest of the night chatting, hanging out, and enjoying ourselves. We stayed until 11 o'clock when there were some pretty nice fireworks, and then we walked home.

Not sure if all the people who read this blog know that apparently the English translation of "yom HaAtzmaute" is "Thou shalt cook cows over open coals to show thy loyalty to the blue and white".

I was even warned by one of the parents from Channah's class that I should know that picnicing without the "mangal" (coal bbq) does not count. Um, yeah. Sure.

So we went to friends in Tel Aviv for a bbq. We got a ride in with some new friends, and spent the afternoon with a really nice mixture of old and new. The kids watched a movie inside and some people started up a volley ball game. All in all it was a nice afternoon. It is funny, in non-election years it is the ONLY statutory holiday of the year, so everybody, I mean EVERYBODY is out bbq-ing with their families. There were wall to wall people along the sides of the roads trying to carve out a little piece of grass on which to mangal their food.

Someone else pointed out how different it is here. In Toronto, those of us who consider ourselves "staunch zionists" would go to great lengths to go to various tekesim and programs and rallys for Israel. Here it is more of a "woke up this morning. I did my bit".

I mean, do not get me wrong, Yom HaAtzmaute is a HUGE deal here. The kids start learning songs the day after pessach. Everything is covered in blue and white decorations. Every tzioni car has flags. It is unbelievable how into it everyone gets.

Anyhow, so that was our first Yom HaAtzmaute.

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