Yesterday was Yom Ha'atsmaut in Israel. A day set aside to celebrate her independence after the UN voted to establish the State of Israel in 1948. This year was the 60th anniversary which was marked in a very grand fashion. As Yom Zikaron - Remembrance/Memorial Day -ended at sunset on Wednesday, Yom Ha'atsmaut began in the same breath. Fireworks began about 11:00 pm and there were parties and singing that went on into the wee hours of the night. In the morning at Gan Sacher, a park near me, the bar-b-ques were already beginning. At noon an air show flew right over my apartment building.
I've talked about my neighborhood, Rehavia, in previous blogs. It's a great place with narrow, tree lined streets and geraniums, roses, honeysuckle in full bloom. Rehavia is an older neighborhood where Hebrew Gymnasia, the first school to educate boys and girls together was established in 1929. The neighborhood has quite a history. The home of the second and longest running president of Israel, Yitzhak ben Tzvi is preserved a few blocks away from me.
Each Yom Ha'atsmaut Rehavia closes off its streets and treats the residents from all over Jerusalem to a street fair. At different intersections men and women were dressed in period costume and dancing, singing and telling the stories of Israel and of the neighborhood. There was music, street vendors, antiques dealers, cotton candy, candy apples and lots of good fun. The day was stunning and people were joyful. The Israeli flag was flying almost everywhere you looked.