Sunday, November 8, 2015

A Victory

I've been holding off writing this, trying to think how. Everyone is fine - that's a tradition in my family. As soon as you have something to tell someone, the first thing you do is give the ending. It helps and so the ending is that in five days, I will be back where I am here now. The world will not shake, though my heart likely will a bit.

Where I am is Ben Gurion Airport in Israel, surrounded by people from all over the world. Some are flying out to business, to vacations, to work, to fun. Some have finished their vacation and are returning home, likely to friends and family who worried about them while they were here.

Today alone, several more people have been hurt in at least two attacks. I write this as to my left and to my right, Arabs sit, shop, each and drink. They are treated with respect, though yes, they are checked very carefully while the security for me is rather quick. I am a 55 year old grandmother...or I will be tomorrow on the solar calendar.

I know of not a single 55 year old Jewish grandmother who has ever hijacked a plane, rammed innocent people standing at a check point, stabbed an 80 year old woman, a 72 year old man, a 13 year old boy.

The security is good enough here that twice already they have looked at my passport and wished me "mazel tov" - congratulations. The first time, I didn't know why, the second time, I simply said thank you.

Tomorrow is my birthday. I was born on November 9th and I am, my mother will tell me with tears in her voice, her answer to Hitler. I am flying to Germany in just over an hour. Germany - a place a year ago I would have told you I would never visit. A place that even now worries me. I don't want to cry in front of them; I don't want to tell them that 70+ years later, yet another generation, the fifth in my family, is being scarred by the Holocaust.

Each time the Israeli security asks me where I go and wishes me a safe trip, I tell them that I go with half a heart and that I can't wait to come home. I ask them - do you know what happened in 1938 on my birthday? And each hesitates as the answer dawns on them. They say the answer in Hebrew. In German, it is Kristallnacht; in English - the night of broken glass. But really, it was so much more than glass that was broken - it was people beaten and murdered and no, not random people - Jews. The Jews of Germany were confronted with the irrevocable truth that it was already too late.

It was a night that buildings and books were burned; holy Torah scrolls desecrated. Kristallnacht.

And each time - three so far in the airport, each Israeli has responded with the same word - "nitzahon" - victory. That is what my mother says - victory.

That I sit here in an ultra-modern terminal (with free, unlimited WiFI, by the way), stores all over the place, restaurants, shopping, a beautiful fountain shooting water up into the air and hundreds of people all around - this is Israel and this is our victory.

Germany - I go for a professional conference and I'm excited by the challenge to meet hundreds of people from all over; to speak and present as an Israeli. And as a Jew, my heart is holding on to the thought that it is a victory - a victory over evil, over hatred.

Today in Israel, we face evil and hatred. Victory is all around me - every time we not only survive, but choose life...yes, life and victory.

Stay well, Israel. I'll be home soon.

1 comment:

CDG, Yerushalayim, Eretz Yisrael Shlemah said...

Be'ezrath haShem, you'll be home!

On the solar calendar I'm only 5 days after you - but 5 years older.

All the very best to your children and grandchildren, as well as to you. Happy birthday, Paula.

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