Tuesday, November 17, 2009

What's in a Uniform?

Since I defined happiness in a previous post, I had a few happy moments with my kids, mainly when visiting Tom and taking him out for a fancy breakfast, together with Dan. On one such occasion we went to a nice garden restaurant in Nahariya (excellent food), on another occasion to a cafe in Tel Aviv (nothing special). I realized that despite the quality of the experience (Nahariya was far better), my level of happiness was higher on the Tel Aviv occasion.

It took me a Yad Vashem visit to realize why. There, the witness videos unfold a myriad of 'private' cruelties and murders alongside the well-planned mass-murders. The war gave legitimacy to many people's evil tendencies. At some death camps, most operations were carried out by local volunteers! At the end of the visit at the Holocaust History Museum, the triangle shaped building opens up into a balcony with a breathtaking view of the Jerusalem hills. This was the point I broke down into tears. Dan was standing by me in his IDF officer uniform, trying to comfort me.

"The feeling is indescribable", says my friend Jeff. "It's like the Exodus theme music playing in the background", he easily and beautifully describes it.

So what made the difference between the two occasions? At the Tel Aviv breakfast, both 'kids' wore IDF uniforms and that made me infinitely proud of them.

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