Greeks learn in order to comprehend.
Hebrews learn in order to revere.

~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Israel Independence Day

Last Tuesday night, around 8:30 p.m., I climbed up on our rooftop to await the fireworks. April 29 is Israel's Independence Day and we were told that fireworks displays would happen all over the city to commemorate this day. Our neighbors told us that our rooftop was a great location to watch them from and they were right! Between 8:30-11 p.m. I saw a total of 12 different sets of fireworks. Brad wasn't able to make it up to the roof until about 9:45 p.m. and he still saw 8 displays! The best was the last one we saw (and the one we'd been waiting for all night) because it was the one that took place in our neighborhood--Baka. These were very close and we could here them very well unlike some of the others that were quite a distance away. They lasted probably 15-20 minutes and were quite good. Denyon was fast asleep although I'm sure he would've enjoyed all of the beautiful colors. Although the fireworks were not the best I'd ever seen (I grew up near Louisville, KY where Thunder over Lousiville happened each year--at one point the largest fireworks display in the world), the location for viewing them was the best! The rooftop was great because there were no trees or people to get in the way. It was another great experience here in Jerusalem!

See you next time,



Travis said...

Hey guys! Congrats on the pregnancy! That is SO exciting. We're excited for you guys to come back, not long now, eh? We'll need to get together and hear what I'm sure will be a VERY small portion of what you've experienced over the last year.

I was just thinking about this post, and wanted to briefly comment and see what your thoughts are. I always experience a bitter-sweet feeling when I think about Israel's independence. The Palestinians call April 29th "al nakba" which means "the catastrophe." It's actually the Arabic equivalent of the Hebrew word for catastrophe that is now synonymous with The Holocaust. The explosions of fireworks remind me of what it must have sounded like for most of the innocent Palestinians who were unjustly and violently removed from their peaceful homes by the Israeli military in the War of 1948. Both sides are certainly to blame, obviously. I just rarely hear about the "other" side these days. What are your thoughts on that? Is Baka a town that has both Palestinian Israelis and Jews living in it? Was there any talk at JUC or in your neighborhood about the "darker side" of April 29?


Brad, Shallon and Denyon said...

Travis, yes we'll have to discuss some of these issues when we get back. After living here for almost a year, we definitely have a different perspective on the situation. And yes, both sides are to blame - which is extremely important to understand and to acknowledge. It is easy to become so inundated with the thoughts (and blogs) of people who discuss the issue from their perspective, which is often arguing that one side is in the wrong over the other, that we lose perspective that both sides have been in the wrong. For example, I was recently talking with a prominent Israeli guide who not only served in the army, but is also a history buff, and he shared with me that the reason many of the Palestinians "lost their homes" wasn't because Israel "unjustly and violently removed them from their peaceful homes" but because the Palestinians were asked by their fellow leaders prior to the war to leave their homes because the Palestinians were going to wipe the Israelis off the earth and they didn't want their fellow Palestinians to become collateral damage. So the Palestinians left and then Israel won the war. Subsequently, despite the loss, those people who left on their own free will (thinking the Jews were going to be annihilated) now wanted their homes back. And when that didn't happen they said they were unjustly and violently removed from their homes. So please understand ... I am not arguing for one side over the other. I am just making the point that depending upon who you hear the story from, it can changes things. It makes you wonder who's story is right. But that'll be a good conversation for us to have once we are back in states. Thanks for the great thoughts.