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The People of Israel Live!



Normally, Tuesday is our prayer letter day (sign up here if you want to receive it!), but it is Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day) in Israel. Yesterday, we spoke about Memorial Day, Yom HaZikaron, but as soon as 8 PM arrived, the entire country turned the switch—and we went from sadness to joy, from remembering those who fell for our nation to celebrating an independent Jewish state after 2000 years in exile.

 

Memorial Day in Richmond 

Last night, Elana and I attended a Memorial Day service at the Jewish Community Center (JCC). Most Jewish communities in America have a JCC in their city. I grew up within walking distance of ours on Monument Avenue in Richmond, where I spent huge chunks of my childhood.

 

Brought Back Memories 

In fact, the very hall where we commemorated the lives of those who have fallen in war or who have become victims of terror is the hall where an anti-messianic rabbi gave a speech against Messianic Judaism exactly 40 years ago. At my parents’ request, I attended. After the meeting, I spent four hours with Rabbi Schochet and didn’t get home until about 2:30 AM. How strange to be in the same venue, now as an Israeli citizen with the Jewish residents of Richmond commemorating Yom Hazikaron.

 

When I was a kid, most Jewish Richmonders did not know much about Israeli holidays. Of course, we celebrated all the biblical holidays, as well as Hanukkah, but we did not know about Israel’s Memorial Day. With the proliferation of the Internet and people being able to see Israelis standing in silence for two minutes all over the country, remembering our fallen brothers and sisters, Memorial Day is honored, not only in Jewish communities but in many Christian ones, too.


The People of Israel Live!

Last night was one of the more meaningful ones I’ve ever experienced. Pictures of hostages were all over the auditorium. There was a makeshift Hamas Tunnel to remind us of how the hostages are suffering in Gaza. While the night was quite somber, just like in Israel, at 8 PM EST, we sang “Am Yisrael Chai” (The People of Israel Live) and entered a time of joy, celebrating Israel's 76 years of independence.




Muted Celebrations 

We will return tonight for a cookout for Independence Day. Let’s be clear: This is probably the most somber and sad Independence Day celebration. It’s hard to rejoice, knowing that our people are still captive in Gaza. It’s difficult to celebrate with so many fresh graves here in Israel. There were no fireworks, and festivities have been muted. Hamas fired rockets at my city Ashkelon, wounding three, and at the city of Sderot, and Hezbollah targeted the Galilee.


It's not so easy to be a child here 

Someone sent me a song recorded a few years ago by a bunch of children and famous Israeli musicians. It celebrates living in Israel, but there’s one line in the song that made me think that it was written in the past few months: “Ze lo col cach pashut l’hiot caan yeled.” “It’s not so easy to be a child here.” In fact, that is the name of the song. But the singers conclude, “I know that I only want to be here (in Israel).” Israel is more like a family than a country. We come in all different shapes, sizes, and even colors, but we all know that we are fighting to simply exist as a people. Never has that been more apparent than this past year.



I want to thank all of you who have stood with the people of Israel. I believe this is a biblical value, and I believe that the Lord is pleased with his spiritual children from the nations who have stood with the physical seed of Abraham. One day soon, God will open up the eyes of all Israel, as Rabbi Saul tells us, and there will be mass salvation (Rom. 11:25–26).


Thank you!

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Shalom from Israel! I am Ron Cantor and this is my blog. I serve as the President of Shelanu TV.

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