Today is a blessed day in Israel, it’s our independence day; celebrated in the homes and out in the country. Many people like to hike and to picnic out in the open. It might be a bit of a challenge because there’s rain in most places. Barbeque is a great favorite, and some folks celebrate with a formal banquet. The first chief rabbi of the modern state of Israel, Rabbi Kook said that the proper way to celebrate this day was to walk four steps in the country, where we haven’t walked before. Of course, I could satisfy the requirements by visiting the local Laundromat, but I, like many of my fellow citizens, try to find a new place of natural beauty to visit every year.
Two thousand years ago, the Roman Empire conquered our country, subjugated our people, and eventually exiled the majority of our citizens from our homeland. For hundreds of years, Jews went from one country to another, trying to survive, but often facing great obstacles and cruelty at the hands of those who gave us temporary shelter. Our experience as refugees has been a very difficult and painful story… and a long one too. There are many accounts of our trials and sorrows in exile. And those who can read Hebrew, can read the stories of the victims first hand. For we are known as the people of the book because reading and writing has been popular and very wide spread among us since the birth of our nation, over 3500 years ago.
I have chosen to celebrate this day on the blog, by sharing with you some pictures of a beautiful area I just recently visited, in the town of Ein Kerem, very close to Jerusalem. And to celebrate this day, and the coming of spring, I’ve decided to post the whole series in the coming days. I hope my readers will enjoy these nature pictures. I visited with three dear friends, and we had a nice hike, and enjoyed wild flowers as well as some planted flowers in the area. Today I am celebrating with two of my friends, and we will probably walk on ‘new’ ground, and have something of a picnic or banquet too. I haven’t made the plans. I simply enjoy the initiatives of my friends.
I would like to take this opportunity to send my best wishes to all my friends and readers, in the hope that all people around the world will soon have the joy and freedom to live in their own free and democratic country where they can live according to their culture and traditions and faith, and produce positive things for their own good and the good of their fellow man.