Yom Huledet Sameach! Happy Birthday Israel

by Arliene Botnick, April 30, 2023

You’re really just a baby, so young. You are a mere 75 years old. We think Canada is young, but it is almost 156 years old. The USA is almost 247 years old and, of course, most European countries are far older than that. But even though you are young, Israel, you have accomplished so much. You are in the top five of worldwide start up companies; your invention of drip irrigation has as made the desert green and has helped many Third World countries with their food production as well and has saved so much water. Numerous Israeli writers, economists, and scientists have received Nobel prizes, far out of proportion to your numbers. Be it a tsunami in Japan, or an earthquake in Haiti, your Israeli rescue teams are almost 1st on the ground to help. Medical treatment centers, such as the Wolfson Institute, through an organization called “Save a Child’s Heart”, have performed numerous life-saving heart operations on children from Third World countries, saving thousands of lives. You invented the pill cam, a video camera that can be swallowed to help doctors assess the best treatment without a patient having to travel long distances to get to a hospital. You invented two of the three most common drugs to treat MS. You invented the “re-walk suit” that enables a paraplegic to stand and walk tall. ln the computer world, your innovations are bountiful – cell phone technology, electric cars innovations, pentium 4 and dual core processors and, of course, Waze! We hear a great deal about your flaws and shortcomings, but let’s take pride in your successes.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a great deal of pride in Israel, and a deep and lasting dedication to the state of Israel. In the 50’s, before there was Twitter or Facebook, or TikTok, and almost before there was television, we all got our news from the radio. We played vinyl records on record players and we read newspapers. As a child, I had two favourite “78” records, songs that my dad, who was a dedicated Zionist. enjoyed listening to with me. He deeply believed that we needed a state, that we were so lucky to have a state, for he had survived the persecution, the hatred, the pogroms in early 1900’s Russia. He made it to Canada in 1927, and here he was safe, but the majority of his family who had remained in Eastern Europe was “exterminated” in the Shoah. My dad believed in, and he supported the creation of the state, through an organization he belonged to called “the All for One”.

I want to share with you the lyrics of the 2 songs (as I remember them! The first is “The Refugees Lullaby” by Gus Van and Mary Small, written in 1947.

The Jews have got their Irish up, and nothing is gonna hold them down
Instead of singing Eli, Eli, they are swinging their shillelaghs,
just like we did in dear old Dublin town

The other song, as I remember it, is called” I’m Going Home” and here are some of their lyrics…

I’m going home! I’m going home! To my own land, no more to roam
I’ll pinch myself a few times before I will believe, the Jews are having good times, right here in Tel Aviv.

Yes, I was a proud Jewish youngster. I didn’t know anything about politics. I know I didn’t understand the reference to the Irish, and I didn’t know about wars. I only knew that my dad said the Jews have a country now and that was a miracle. Israel is a state, our state declared by the United Nations on May 14, 1948. Let us support it; let us challenge it; let us struggle with it. After all, that’s what Israel means… to struggle with God, and by extension perhaps to struggle with the land that we were promised _ “Lech Lecha. Go the land that I will show you”. But also let us love it and let us defend it and let us demand that it will be all that it should be. To a future that will be brighter for Israel as a democratic and caring state, and always be the realization of the hope of the Jewish people

So once again Yom Huledet Sameach, Israel

Filed under: Educator's Message

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