Ah yes, the one "Sunday" that Israelis have every year.....no religious obligations, no work obligations, just a day of fun and relaxation.
But...what do you do if it rains?
We have a great yard and I've never been wild about packing up to take a barbque "out" somewhere -- why bother if you have a nice comfortable spot right near the fridge? But it's expected and for years we packed up our grill, charcoal, food and other necessities and set off to do the expected "al ha-aish" -- on the fire.
This year however the weather report seems to have been spot on....woke up to a cold and windy morning with drops already starting to fall. So I was relieved that I had simply told a bunch of neighbors and friends to bring something to grill and come on over.
My New Orleans neighbor was in charge of the grill and she made it into an artform, quickly igniting and running three grills so efficiently that I had to call some of the people and ask that they hurry up and bring over their food.
As usual, there was plenty of everything including several bottles of wine and 2 "Breezers" that I had bought to treat myself.
When it came time for Dvar Torahs and other words of wisdom, I mentioned my cousin, a young man who died in 1946 fighting with the Palmach. He was an only child and from what little I was able to read of his and his parents' and aunt's life (his mother and aunt were my great-grandfather's sisters...when my ggrandfather came to America in 1914, they came to Palestine), it was a hardscrabble life full of illness and difficulties.
I don't know much about this cousin and none of the rest of the family seems to know much either, but this young man, Nechemia Schein, and his parents and aunt and uncle were part of the generation that built our country. They lived and died with no one to perpetuate their memory and I often think of how I might accomplish that. I doubt that there will be any little Nechemias but if I had known about him when my sons were born, I would have liked to have added his name to one of their names.
At any rate, our celebration of our country's 65th year of existence is due, in part, to the men and women who struggled to create a homeland for the Jewish people. Nechemia's name will be remembered in the history of the Palmach -- he was the commander of a unit that undertook a well-known mission, the Night of the Bridges. But his parents and aunt and uncle? Maybe, one day, we'll be able to think of a suitable memorial to these relatives.
In the meantime, my Yom HaAtzmaut Independence Day Celebration is dedicated to Nechemia, Batya and Eliezer Schein, Yehudit Koritsky and Yehudit's husband (whose name I don't know).