Monday, April 27, 2015

Israel's Radio

Israel's radio broadcasts are, in so many ways, a slice of Israeli life. I started listening to the radio shortly after moving to Israel...I thought that somehow it might help me absorb the language faster, the culture more deeply.

The first time I realized that the radio here in Israel isn't just about reporting the news was during a weather forecast...it was towards the end of summer here and it was, as it often is, unbearably hot.

"It's 40 degrees in the shade," explained the weatherman (40 degrees Celsius is 104 degrees Fahrenheit). Hot...

"That's it, folks," responded the news broadcaster, "you heard him. Stay OUT of the shade!"

It took me a couple of seconds to realize, to smile. I have been their faithful fan ever since.

If you are driving at exactly 5:58 a.m. - they open the morning with the Shema prayer..."Hear, Israel. The Lord, our God, is One!" and that follows with the next paragraph...

You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might. And these words which I command you today shall be upon your heart. You shall teach them  to your children, and you shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road, when you lie down and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes. And you shall write them upon the doorposts of your house and upon your gates.
And then, as if that wasn't enough to remind you that we are, despite some rather idiotic people in the world who refuse to see it, a Jewish state, at 6:00 a.m. the broadcast welcomes you to the day.

Normally, it will tell you today is Monday, the 8th day of the month of Iyar and the 27th day of April. For 50 days, from Passover to the holiday of Shavuot, we count the days...as we have for thousands of years...each day by the day and then by the number of weeks.

So, this morning, in addition to using the Hebrew date and the secular date, the announcer also said, "Today is the 23 day, which is three weeks and two days, of the Omer."

And than, as if that isn't enough to show how connected we are with the roots of our tradition, they began speaking to an Israeli in Nepal. Today, Israeli helicopter teams worked to evacuate climbers off the frozen face of Mount Everest, including 4 Israelis.

Today, five planes of aid, rescue workers, medical personnel, and equipment landed in Nepal. Over 200 IDF soldiers from the search and rescue division are there desperately trying to save lives. Dozens of doctors are working to set up a field hospital that will be as fully equipped as any normal hospital.

Today, more than a dozen rescued Israelis were flown home on El Al planes, including several infants who were born to women who had agreed to act as surrogate mothers for couples in Israel who were unable to conceive.

And finally, one returning Israeli quoted the well known phrase, "Every Jew is responsible for the other."

So, that was Israel Radio today...

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