Drip. Drip. Drip. Pitter patter. Pitter patter.  Swoosh.  Swoooosh!  Gush!  What kind of article is this? you must be wondering.  After a three-week break from writing my column due to my son’s wedding, Baruch Hashem, you must be asking yourselves if I forgot how to write.  You’re probably thinking that in the extremely somewhat stressful period leading up to the wedding, I must have completely lost my mind touch.  You are wondering if, in a moment of desperation due to my inability to come up with original material, I decided to plagiarize a book by Dr. Seuss.  But, no, I did not forget how to write.  And, no, I did not plagiarize a book by Dr. Seuss, or anyone else for that matter.  I’m just sharing with you the unwelcome sounds that have been reverberating through my home of late. 

As a native of Kew Gardens Hills who got married and lived in Flatbush for several years before making aliyah, I’ve always lived in strong and vibrant Jewish communities. There were many schools of varied hashkafos from which to choose. Numerous minyanim were within a short walking distance and, of course, there was no shortage of kosher food and restaurants.

Decisions, decisions. The need to choose from a broad array of incredible options was the feeling that accompanied me all day last Thursday, when I was privileged to attend the World Orthodox Israel Congress of Mizrachi held in The Heichal Shlomo Synagogue in Yerushalayim in honor of Israel’s 75th year of Independence. Representatives from six continents, 50 countries, 250 cities, and 1,000 organizations were present at the Congress, which was publicized as an event at which one could network, learn, and be inspired. And so, it was.

This is a sad week in the Israeli calendar. This is a happy week in the Israeli calendar. Yom HaZikaron. Yom HaAtzmaut. Memorial Day for Israel’s fallen soldiers. Israeli Independence Day. The contrast of emotions related to these two days is enormous, but they are observed back-to-back, emphasizing the connection between the sacrifice of the fallen and the establishment of the State of Israel.

There are no words. As I sit down to pen an article for my column, I find myself at a loss. I usually like to write a post-chag round-up describing the exciting events and the beautiful atmosphere felt in the country, but this year it felt as though a gray cloud was our constant companion, hovering over us as we did our best to celebrate the chag. This was literal as well as figurative, as we were pummeled with thunder and lightning storms, most unusual for this time of year.

Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom in order to rise up. The polarity in Israel reached a new low over the last few months. While many people are upset about the judicial reforms, in one direction or another, many are even more upset about the enormous rift that was created as a result of all the fighting. There is a growing group of individuals who have decided to actively do something to calm the atmosphere and bridge the gap between the camps.