Monday, June 21, 2010

Raise the Flag

Did you ever notice that between Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day) and Yom Yerushalayim (Jerusalem Day) people walk a little taller. Everyone's a little prouder. Smiles are a little wider. Then when Jerusalem Day is over, it's back to real life. Folks slump a little. Their greetings are a little more subdued. The summer sun is shinier, but people's steps lack the pizzazz of the weeks before.
I think it's because of the flag. The Israeli flag.
When the cherry picker trucks drive down the main street of our towns, the excitement begins. Every day thereafter, the positive feelings that start on Main Street spread throughout the entire community. There's something to celebrate. As the flags flap festively one right after another down a kilometer or two of town, there's a reason to be a little more animated and cheerful.
Then, after the uplifting weeks of Iyar (when these holidays are celebrated), suddenly the cherry picker returns to remove the flags. What a downer, literally!
So, this year, coincidentally after the flags came down, we got boycotts against Israeli goods, the floatilla fiasco, the death of our Rabbi HaRav Mordechai Eliyahu, ztz'l, the terror attack near Kiryat Arba, Helen Thomas telling me to go to Poland, verbal and physical hate attacks against Hareidi Jews, protests against Israeli ships around the world, nasty notes about local shopping centers and more. Add to that some serious conversations I had this morning at Pina Chama (the soldier's hospitality hut), and it's just enough to really depress anyone.
And then suddenly, there's the flag. This giant flag.
I drove my daughter back from school in Jerusalem to my hometown of Efrat, and suddenly my daughter pointed out the giant flag on the Tamar Hill. There's this mammoth flag blowing back and forth like a whale jumping the waves. I had seen this flag foisted in a video clip shown at the Shwekey concert a few weeks ago, right after the floatilla, but I had never really noticed the flag.
Efrat's Local Council Member Josh Adler wrote to Efratians right after the Tamar flag and the others were hung in Efrat, "Today the Moatza (Local Council) proudly raised four enormous Israeli flags across Efrat (Tamar, Zayit/Dekel Gimmel, Dekel Bet & Teena). These flags are on very high poles and can be seen from every Arab village in the area and from very far. It is a firm statement that our nation is strong, we are strong, we are proud, and we are here to stay."
When my daughter pointed out the flag to me, I also felt stronger, prouder and more determined in my life here in this blessed land.
How incredible that a flag can do all that, but it did.
Things are tough for the Jewish people lately (what else is new?). It's easy to feel a little down.
We need some flag waving. Flag waving on our main streets, on our cars, and in our hearts.
Wherever you live, invite your municipality to follow Efrat's lead and hang some Israeli flags around your town. It will make an immediate difference in the outlook of everyone around you.I should have told you before, but thanks to the Efrat Community Council for rehanging the Israeli flag in our town. It was there for me just when I needed it. And I'm happy to share the good feelings with everyone else.
Thanks to Yaron Shane for the uplifting video:
Raise the flag!!

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