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APRIL - MAY: Months full of Symbolism

Publié le, 09 mai 2005 par

By Sarah Ozacky-Lazar

ISRAEL- On the night of April 23rd all Jews around the world are united by sitting with their families around the table for a ceremony called “seder” (order) in which they tell the story of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt to the land of Israel thousands of years ago – the story of getting out from slavery to liberation, a journey which took them 40 years of wondering in the Sinai desert during which they got the torah (the bible) with its ten commandments, that later became a universal moral lesson to the entire humanity.

The Jewish calendar is full of holidays, memorial days and special days of commemoration of historical and religious events. The months of April and May are loaded with symbols and lessons drawn from ancient and modern history.

This holiday, Pessah or Passover marks not only freedom but also the beginning of spring, the rebirth of everything in nature, the renewal of body and soul. Traditional customs, special food, many restrictions and one book, the hagada, which is read at that night, unite the Jewish people wherever they are.

They remember the days when their Nation was formed during the hardships of the desert, they tell their children every generation the story of how they were saved by Moses who ordered “Let my People go” and led them through those difficult times and harsh experiences, and finally brought them to their own promised land to be independent and free. Moses himself was not allowed by God to enter the promised land – he just saw it from a mountain in the East side of the Jordan river and died. Only the new fresh generation was allowed into the land of Israel to re-start new independent life of the nation.

Strangely enough – two huge events happened to the Jews in modern times, which are remembered during the same time every year.

The Holocaust Memorial day would be marked on May 5th to commemorate the millions of Jews who were murdered in the heart of Europe just 60 years ago in the biggest crime against humanity that can be imagined.

The Holocaust and the events of second world war should be studied and remembered by every human being, not just the Jews, so they learn the lesson of human cruelty and stand firm against racism, xenophobia and hatred of “the other”. This year we mark the 60th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany and the end of the war. Can we promise our children that these horrors can never happen again, while mass killing and oppression are still happening in many parts of the world?

A week later, on May 12, Israel will celebrate its 57th Independence Day, a national day of joy due to the liberation of the Jewish people in the modern era, which is always overcastted by the agony and mourning of the dead.

One day prior to Independence Day we mark the National Memorial Day, in which families are visiting the graves of their beloved ones who fell in the many wars we have experienced since 1948. The fast transformation from deep sadness to high spirits on the evening between those two dates symbolizes the duality of our life as Jews and Israelis and the tension and the very narrow path between life and death, slavery and liberation, oppression and freedom.

Watching the blooming nature and the beautiful spring in the land of Israel, and looking deep into our souls during these weeks of celebration and memory – I would recommend to my people to remember not only our own history but the history of the others, the universal message of freedom for all human beings. This is the time of the year when we should decide to free ourselves from the burden of oppressing others.

Learning from history we must find the courage to let the Palestinian people go, to let them be free as well, even if we are to pay a heavy toll for a compromise.