May 14, 2024

So often, we get tired of the mundane… the routine… the things that we determine are boring because they happen the same way all the time. And yet, when things “break” from the ordinary and it is unclear how this “new” situation will play out, we get nervous and are unsure how to respond. As an example, think back to a holiday celebration when you decided to make a new dish instead of your “signature” one because you wanted to “change it up a bit,” but it didn’t come out the way it looked in the picture or video. Remember how uncomfortable it felt. The fact is that when push comes to shove, we like routine because it’s comfortable. 


Still don’t believe me? Think back to all of the “non-routine” things we’ve experienced over the last four years – between COVID and the rise of hate and antisemitism to what we are witnessing and experiencing since October 7. You tell me if you wouldn’t like to return to the calm we were having shortly after New Year’s of 2020. 


Today is May 14… the 76th anniversary of when David Ben-Gurion, the head of the Jewish Agency, stood before a collection of the newly founded country’s dignitaries and proclaimed the establishment of the State of Israel. It is Israel’s “4th of July.” And yet, this year’s celebration is different than any others. In my lifetime, almost 50 years, there has never been a celebration like this one…. so hindered and full of strife. Imagine what it must be like in Israel right now, trying to celebrate as many people are questioning whether your country even has a right to exist while you are also still mourning the loss of life, let alone worrying about those who are still being held captive since October 7. 


To put this in perspective, imagine the United States being involved in a war and many outside of this country questioning whether the US has a right to be a nation. And not only is the United States’ credibility and livelihood being challenged, but all of the pent-up frustration, animosity, anger, and hatred is targeted at every single one of its citizens. … And it happens to be July 4.  Imagine trying to celebrate our Independence Day with this as the backdrop in which friends and family gather together for barbeques and parties, waiting for the fireworks to light up the sky. 


That is what it must feel like in Israel today. Not only did they just commemorate Yom Hazikaron, their memorial day… a day set aside to remember those who died defending Israel’s right to exist, but this latest backdrop has not been experienced in this way since 1948 when immediately following the day’s celebration, the new nation was attacked by five Arab countries. 

This year’s celebration is distinctly different from previous years, and it is important to remember that that is OKAY. Even during a wedding, a day that is supposed to be filled with only happiness and joy for the new couple, the breaking of glass is a reminder of the destruction of the Temple and the fragility of life. 

All we can do is continue to hope and do what we can to get back to normal… routine… and boring. And maybe we will appreciate it a bit more when we are back there.