Monday, May 09, 2011

Have a little gratitude

There is a fashion amongst some Jews, here and abroad, to sneer at Yom Ha'atzmaut, to pooh pooh the celebration of this imperfect realisation of their highly idealised image of what the Jewish state should be.

Others accept that there is something to celebrate on Yom Ha'atzmaut, but deride what they see as the crass and populist way it is celebrated, the throngs of Am Yisrael with their barbecues, gaudy coloured lights, Israeli flags, low brow entertainment and pathos-laden songs.

Finally there are the folks, mostly in the diaspora, who are kind of glad that Israel is there, but please don't expect them to get too excited about it. Perish the thought that they should take even a minute or two on Yom Hazikaron to say thank you to the thousands who died so that Israel could live. So that they could be safe in the knowledge that there was a bolt hole for them should things ever get really bad in the diaspora, or if they fancy visiting the Kotel some time.

For crying out loud folks, I know it sounds Pollyanish, but play the glad game, be thankful for what you have. Stop focusing on what you haven't, on what there isn't, on what isn't good enough.

Just because something isn't perfect doesn't mean you can't recognise the good in it, can't thank Hashem for granting us this modern miracle, this privilege to be of a generation that merits to be part of the rebuilding of the Jewish homeland.

Just because a mode of celebration isn't to your taste, or is beneath your taste, doesn't mean you can't appreciate the wonder of the Jewish people in the Jewish homeland joyously thronging the streets in their tens of thousands in honour of Israel's birthday.

Open your eyes, get some perspective, look. Just look. Roughly seventy years after Hitler decreed our people as fit only for extinction, murdered a third of our nation and left the Jewish world in tatters, a mere handful of decades after we reached the brink of total destruction, and look at the vibrancy, the creativity, the enthusiasm for life that are at the core of this phoenix that is the rebirth of Jewish sovereignty in Israel.

How can you see that and not see a reason to dance in the streets? How can you see the only place in the world with a growing Jewish population, a growing young Jewish population, and not rejoice in this victory over Hitler? How can you see the thousands of dedicated young men and women who pledge their lives to protecting our people and not feel gratitude? How can you look the bereaved parents in the eye and tell them their child's sacrifice wasn't good enough for you?

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