Here in Israel the month of May is filled with memorials and celebrations. It started off with Yom Hashosha, which is Holocaust Remembrance day. We started our week off with going Yad Vashem. It is the Holocaust Museum in Israel. It is always emotional when going through it. Later that week we had ceremonies at our schools. Though I didn’t understand a majority of it because my Hebrew is not to that level yet, it was bone chilling because at 10 o’clock we all rose and heard a siren for 2 minutes that was heard all throughout the country. It was such a surreal moment.
The next week was Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut and these two days lead right into each other. It was all about memory and then celebration. Really a touching thing to go through such strong emotions like that.
Yom Hazikaron is the day to remember the soldiers that have fallen and those we have lost to terror. The start of Yom Hazikaron we went to Latrun, which is where the only English ceremony for Yom Hazikaron in the country. I got the opportunity to lead a delegation from Montreal. I got to talk about my experience on Masa and get to know them a little bit before the ceremony. The ceremony was really emotional. Again it started with a siren that was heard throughout the country. All of the different pieces of the ceremony were really touching and emotional. I am really glad we got the opportunity to experience something so important to Israeli society.
The next day we had another ceremony at school. It was also very emotional even though I couldn’t understand exactly what was going on. Yom Hazikaron is a day of memory and remembrance. The whole country feels the heaviness of the day. However, as the sunsets over Israel, emotions and mood changes. It changes into celebration and patriotism across the country. It is amazing how supportive everyone was during the day and then celebrates as a country together.
Yom Ha’atzmaut is Israel Independence day. It is when Israel became a country. Well it is literally the biggest celebration for an Independence day that I have ever seen. I stayed in Ashdod that night, and went to the city center with some friends. The roads were blocked and there were stages and food trucks everywhere. It reminded me of a state fair, but literally everything was about Israel!!! All of Ashdod was there celebrating!!! There were fireworks to fully kick off the day of celebration!!!! It was so amazing seeing how much pride the country had.
The next day is all about being with your family and friends and patriotism! I went to Tel Aviv with friends!! The purpose of the trip was to go see the airshow by the Air Force. It was such a great show! It reminded me of the Blue Angels. We then went to Cafe XoHo, which is an AMAZING Cafe. (I am so sad I am just learning about it). We then went to go find some street parties because why not! So we went to this bar and happened to have like all of the Americans who are studying at Tel Aviv University on study aboard. It was really fun day with great people!!!!
Remembering and Celebrating like Israelis has been such an amazing experience!!! I am so glad that I got to celebrate such amazing holidays for the second time!!!!
(Yad Vashem(Yom Hazikaron ceremony at Latrun)(Yom Hazikaron ceremony at Latrun)(Celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut the Israeli way)(Fireworks to kickoff the night)(Airshow!!!!!)(Just hanging out with some great friends!)