Yom HaShoah, Yom Yizkor: the sense of home
So many things to blog about and so few pictures. There are pictures but a certain person (ahem Sarah!) didn't send them to me after convincing me we could use her camera rather than going home to get mine. Grumble, grumble.
So yesterday I had ulpan and I was excited to find that I understood 99% and knew all but one of the "new" words (actually, the deal is I'm still confused as to whether you can use lhshtacnea and mshucna interchangeably or not, as they both mean "to be convinced/persuaded"). My understanding seems to have jumped like double but I still have trouble doing much speaking, especially when it comes to conjugating those verbs on the fly in the correct person --like aren't you all guys and a you in the future and in imperative? :)
We got out of ulpan at few minutes early so we could all walk down to Ben Yehuda and wait for the siren to sound at 8 p.m. last night and stand at attention. The siren sounded for another 2 minutes this morning at 11:00 and I just can't get over how moving it is for me. I have cried more in the last week than I have in the last 8 years together.
And it is a strange kind of tears I've been shedding, not entirely sad, although the occasions are sad ones. There is sadness and grief and a sense of terrible loss. Mixed with that are tears that are almost euphoric, strange to say, brought on by a sense of connectedness to the land, to my country, to the stranger standing next to me who is sharing and feeling as I am in just that moment. The euphoria of belonging to a Jewish State, to our long history, to our endurance and survival beyond all odds, to being part of the present and the future while so integrally tied to the past. Sarah and I went to the ceremony at Rabin Square last night and one of the speakers summed it up in words in a way, "we are all one family." And I felt that. I've felt that every day since I got here, having never had that sensation before (not even when visiting here) but this past week with our communal grieving and communal respect and honouring of the past and of those whose lives were sacrificed in the Holocaust, through terror attacks, and in the line of duty for our country, that feeling has intensified a thousand fold. The sense of loss is deeper but so is the sense of joy and comraderie and belonging. And tomorrow the commemoration of an event so happy that it hurts, the day of our nation's independence.
The sense of home.