In Israel: A Poem in Honor of Yom Ha'atzmaut

Sixty-five years ago the State of Israel was born. Yom Ha'atzmaut (יום העצמאות) means "Independence Day" in Hebrew and commemorates the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948. It is celebrated on the fifth of Iyar according to the Hebrew calendar, which begins this year on the evening of April 15. The root letters of the word atzmaut are ע-צ-מ, which can also be translated as "essence." Poetically speaking, we could say today begins the Israel's 65th "essence day."

This poem is my attempt to share and celebrate a small slice of Israel's essence.

In Israel

In Israel, people with guns
are shooting at people with bombs

In Israel, everywhere is dangerous
"don't get blown up" they say

In Israel, Moses saw the promised land
Jesus returned pardon for injury,
& Mohammed tramped with Gabriel

In Israel, a lot of people talk to God
In Israel, God whispers back "One"

In Israel, Arsim & Chassidim & Haredim
Walk in the park with Datim & Chilunim

"Ma Ha Matzav?"
It's everywhere, it hasn't ended,
& the eyes of man offer no resolution

In Israel, there is more gas
generated by falafel
than many other countries

In Israel, there is a little coffee shop
That sells used books and people come & write
While young beautiful Israeli's sweat for Shekalim
And still smile even though they are tired.

In Israel, most people don't fight
Just like everywhere else.

In Israel, the army is a part of puberty.

In Israel, Jews want to know "Why?"
Just as much as everyone else.

In Israel, a lot of people are waiting.

In Israel, soul eaters are dressed like soul savers
& the water in the mikvah is dirty.

In Israel, apathetic hipsters don't care about the fact that they are in Israel

In Israel, hash is more available than weed

In Israel, the land is still a maiden who loves you
Even though she has a thousand scars
Her eye is still bright & she holds out her hand.

In Israel, my heart has found a place to put down roots.

In Israel, wrestling with angels is a national past time.

In Israel, what is forgotten is remembered.

In Israel, brothers play paddle ball
every week on the beach in Tel Aviv

In Israel, a dream greets the dawn
And is a babe, a man, and an elder all at once.

In Israel, the City of Gold's light,
Is not made of pavement.

In Israel, Shabbos is coming
And it's time to rest.