Sirens blared throughout Israel today for National Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Its rise is not subtle, no foreplay. Within a second flat, there is no space between my ears for anything else.
A flash flood of feelings storm in me with the siren’s ring – it doesn’t ask permission: it gives notice.
My soul knows this sound; a Klezmer band of sadness, entire chord progressions frozen in one single, sharp note. Twisted and impossible in its strength.
Snapshots of grainy, black and white men and women I’ve never met, but still know deeply, flash in my mind. I see their faces, their shaved heads, their sunken eyes. I see pillars of dark smoke. I feel it as deep as my body will allow. My head is bowed for the first half of the siren. The pull of its weight feels appropriate.
And then, that thick minute passes – it just shifts and space opens for something else.
My body naturally moves into some version of power-pose. Something I picked up in a yoga class a long time ago.
In this second minute of siren-enhanced silence, the sound morphs in my mind and I feel myself filling up. I feel where we are today –I feel what has grown out of that time, what stands now where those ashes fell. My mind’s eye flashes a daisy peeking through a crack in worn cement.
I smile and it doesn’t feel irreverent.
I lift my arms above my head, flex my muscles and feel able-bodied, strong, downright alive. I switch to warrior pose, sink down deep and feel the burn in my quads, the stretch in my arms, the rise of my chest.
F**K you Nazis. We’re still here.
The siren fades – a decent that doesn’t last more than a second or two…the sound lingers and in the moments after, rather suddenly, the birds come back to life, the swish of the laundry machine enters, cars begin to travel, the wind continues to move, the wheat sways and here I stand alone on my balcony in the Golan Heights. I nod to the sky – bigger than I remember it being a few minutes ago – grateful for the intimacy it allowed me.
I exhale, take another few beats to readjust to this new silence, feeling grateful to know that each of our children, from age five to 15 were standing too- with their friends and their teachers – wondering where this siren hit them. I pray that they understand, if not today, then someday when they need to know it – that where there is rupture, there is always hope for repair.
Even it takes a few lifetimes…there is hope for repair.