Israelis for Yom Haatzmaut

I am filled with mixed emotions when I reflect on our past week. First and foremost, I have tremendous pride to say that we commemorated Yom Hazikaron and celebrated Yom Haatzmaut as Israeli citizens. No longer are we trying to explain the importance of the days to our children from afar. No longer are we trying to grasp onto pictures, memories and Israeli food to feel the power of the days. We were here, in Israel! The feelings of the days surrounded us.

Next on my list of emotions is thankfulness. We are so thankful to Hashem on many levels. We are thankful on a national level for giving the Jewish people an opportunity to have this country. For so many generations, people only dreamed of Israel. Now, Israel is a Jewish state and we are all free to come and live here. Israel is thriving in so many ways and has come so far. There is a lot to be thankful for. On a more personal level, I am thankful that we were given the specific gift of making aliyah and living here. On Yom Haatzmut, I woke up and opened my huge window to just admire our view of the hills of Yerushalayim. We are really here. We made it home and for that I can not express my gratitude. There were so many obstacles in our way, and so many times when we were not sure if we would ever make it, but here we are! And last but not least, I am thankful to all the soldiers who protect us and thankful to all those who lost their lives in defending our country and allowing us to live here. On Tuesday night and Wednesday morning when the sirens went off to commemorate all the lives lost for our country, it felt personal. Those lives were lost so I could stand here, in my comfortable home in Yershalayim and feel safe.

When going through my emotions, I can not help but mention my tinge of regret. We made a few rookie mistakes this year that I hope we can correct for future years. A simple example of our mistakes was not preparing enough white shirts for the kids. Saturday night I realized that each of our children needed four white shirts for the upcoming week. There would be two days of Rosh Chodesh, Yom Hazikaron and of course Yom Haatzmaut. I was not prepared. Another small regret was that we did not do activities that were specific to the days. I did not know what I should or could do for Yom Hazikaron with four young children with me. Activities at night seem very difficult because my children are early-bedtime-kids. On Yom Haaztmaut we wanted to make sure to see both sides of our family. We spent a wonderful day hosting everyone, but we did not get out to see the festivities. We missed the famous airplane flyover and did not go to any public celebrations.Although we loved being with our family and having special time with them, by the end of the day, I felt a little but sad that we missed it. Our first time in Israel for both of these special days, and we didn’t do much. We are hoping to change that for next year.

Now that these special days are behind us, we are moving forward with our year. I am so proud of how well my girls are doing in school. This week, one of my girls came home with an outstanding grade on a halacha test she took. She learned the material, studied and took the test completely in Hebrew and by herself. She was one of the first ones to complete the test and felt confident that she did well on it. Of course, there are still difficult times and we are all learning more each day. But, we are getting closer to feeling like living here is a "piece of cake”. Our cake party countdown is at 50 days!!!!