Tonight brings to a close Holocaust Memorial Day, a day in which I can't help but think about how far we've come, and how far we still have to go.
Last night I took the kids to the local memorial ceremony held in our small town, very nicely put together by the youth movement. At the end of the ceremony, when everyone stood to sing Hatikva, I lost it. Looking around at everyone present, and knowing that thousands more cities and communities just like ours were doing the same thing all around the country, I started crying. Crying from sadness about what it took to create this country and the sacrifices that were made; crying from happiness that we are all here, having realized the dream of being a free people in our own country; crying because even though we are in our own country, there are those will do whatever it takes to try and push us out of here; crying because I'm here in the middle of it all, an active participant in a history that stretches far beyond my little bubble - and that is quite hard to comprehend sometimes.
The entire memorial day (including yesterday evening) was accompanied by sad, Holocaust-related songs on the radio, and Holocaust-related programming and movies on TV (hard to believe there are so many, but there are). Many shops and businesses closed. Remembrance ceremonies were held across the country for survivors and their families. At 10 am this morning, the whole country stopped whatever they were doing and stood for 2 minutes in silent remembrance of the 6 million who perished. It is such an ingrained part of this country, of the Jewish history, and of so many people here, that you can't help being personally affected by it.
With all the crap that goes along with living in Israel, the frustration, the heartbreak and my occasional doubts, it is days like this that I am sure that this is the right place to be. I just wish it didn't take a day like this to remind me of that.