They say the State of Israel is like a chulent with all kinds of different ingredients mixed together. But you know what...if you look at the chulent on Shabbat afternoon, you can still see the beans and the barley and the meat separately. They haven't mushed together. They're yummy as a mixture, but they're still individually identifiable.
Just as there are varied types of Israelis - as varied as the countries of their origin - there are a variety is a great diversity in the national life of our people. We've got Jewish holidays and national holidays. We celebrate happy times and memorialize tragedies.
The Jewish month of Nissan is probably the best example of the dichotomies in our lives.
In Nissan, on Passover we celebrate our rescue and escape from the Egyptian concentration camps, our miraculous crossing of the Dead Sea, and the start of our journey to the Chosen Land. We end the month with Yom HaShoa (Holocaust Remembrance Day) by memorializing those who were not lucky enough to be rescue or escape from their concentration camps or lives of terror during the Nazi Holocaust.
The vast majority of Nissan is joyous with holiday preparations and tiyulim (family trips) all over the country (like our trips to Bet El and to the zoo), little outings to the zoo or other points of interest. Then the frivolity of the month ends as we remember those loved ones who were murdered by the Nazis and their allies, as well as those Jews and humans who fought against the atrocities of the time.
Last week, we "chopped" in a few more family trips before the joy of Nissan waned. We traveled to the port city of Ashdod (more coming in an upcoming blog) and then toured closer to home, as we visited the Jerusalem Municipality (more on that too at a later time) and the exhibition of stories and fairy tales at the Mamilla Mall.
The world's most popular children's tales were on display in Mamilla in the form or statues and paintings, as well as etchings. Pinocchio, the Wizard of Oz, the Ugly Duckling, Hansel and Gretel - each was whimsically displayed for thousands of passers-by to enjoy. Aladdin and His Magic Lamp, the Pied Piper of Hamlin, Cinderella, Puss in Boots, Peter Pan and even the store of Rabbi Akiva and the Rooster were told in various art forms.
Mamilla shoppers and strollers enjoyed the exhibition, which is set to remain through October. If you haven't seen it yet, it's worth the trip. Plus, you can always have lunch out at one of the Mamilla eateries, and you've got a great half-day exursion.
Voices made a movie of the Mamilla happenings. You can view it at http://voices-magazine.com/voices-videos.php?id=127 .
But as we said, there are memories of other kinds in Nissan.
TALES of the HOLOCAUST
As we memorialize those loved ones lost in the Holocaust, we also thank Hashem for those who survived. One of the survivors was my own mother-in-law. Born in Austria, she spent the war years running from country to country to try to escape the Nazis, who seemed always to be one step behind her. Partnered with my father-in-law, o'h, and her own beloved mother, o'h, my mother-in-law lived a courageous and constantly-death-defying life until she thankfully was able to settle in Eretz Yisrael. Actually, my in-laws were Palestinians, coming into the land during the time of the British Mandate.
Two years ago, I videoed my mother-in-law briefly describing some of her memories from the Holocaust. You can view her story at http://voices-magazine.com/voices-videos.php?id=128 . It is a tale of suspense, sadness and ultimate victory.
That's actually the tale of the Jewish people - suspense, sadness and ultimate victory, IY"H.
An eternal nation with a eternal tale.