Wednesday, May 7, 2008


I have only just now returned from a ceremony of remembrance in honor of the many young men and women of Israel's Defense Forces who fell in battle during the six wars of Israel's sixty year existence as a sovereign state.
The children of the Gerrard-Berman Solomon Schechter Day School in Oakland ,New Jersey , lit candles, recited prayers and sang songs of memory and hope.

I was left with an indelible impression of gratitude-grateful for the offerings of so many young lives on the altar of Israel's security and honor; grateful for the power of memory by which to sustain an awareness of the gifts of the past and those who made these gifts possible; grateful for young people who are yet willing to remember and not forget, in spite of the pain that permeates such remembering ; grateful for songs that speak to our souls of deep and long standing yearnings for peace.
The following are excerpts of one of those songs.(My free translation from the Hebrew)

"God gave you a gift,
Something wonderful and great
Life on earth,
To appreciate.

He gave you night and day,
Love, hope and dreams,
Summer, winter, autumn and spring,
A soul with which to witness everything .

Fields of green,
Sprouting flowers and trees ,
Skies, moon and stars ,
Rivers, streams and seas

Such beautiful things
To bring to the world,
On children's wings,
With flags unfurled

To listen to songs, to see many hues,
How great are Your works, O Lord,
From which to choose

God, just one more gift,
A small yet wonderful thing
Peace on earth for all,
For ever more
Will I sing.

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