Sorry that I didn't get a photo of our Yom HaAtzmaut Celebration. It was lovely and I was just sorry that my house isn't bigger so that I could have had more people over. Basically, I invited friends -- people for whom it would be hard to get out of town or who are on their own. We told everyone to bring whatever they want to grill and I made some salads.
I started the grill up (I've gotten quite good at it and if we hadn't had so much to grill, I could have done the whole thing with wood -- didn't use a speck of lighter fluid either!) and then my neighbor took over while I went inside to deal with the salads. We had about 20 guests -- old-timers, new olim, a family with 2 sons presently serving in the army, etc. Once I saw that I had enough chairs I could relax and, thanks to a lot of beer, a few bottles of wine and a lot of good will, we did our country proud.
As the celebration wound down everyone reflected on the tremendous "zechut" (privilege) that we have to be living in Israel today. After countless centuries of persecution we live freely as Jews in a country that protects us. I always think of Daniel Gordis's article that he wrote in 2002 after the attack on Israelis in Mombassa Kenya. In explaining his decision to move to a "dangerous neighborhood" he wrote "our family does come first. And that's why we're here. To raise our kids in a place that's all about them, about their history, their future, their sense of being at home. To live in a place that unlike that old neighborhood, matters very much."
Thank you Daniel for expressing what I feel but can't qu