Recent celebrations in Israel - Yom HaZikaron, or Memorial Day, and Yom HaAtzmaut, or Independence Day - especially resonated with Yael, who writes in The Jerusalem Post of her love for the Holy Land that she calls home:
I love the street names, which are almost all named in honor of biblical heroes, founders of the nation of Israel, or philanthropists who helped develop the modern state.
I love the savtot (grandmothers) who spend their days reciting Tehillim (psalms) while sitting on park benches, in public buses and inside ancient synagogues.
I love the fact that my children are in school with Jewish kids from Ethiopia, Yemen, Morocco, Russia and many other places.
I love how people go to weddings in jeans and a button-down shirt.
I love how everyone feels like family to each other, creating an atmosphere where you can be blunt and speak your mind.
I love how when I take my babies for a walk, everyone on the street comes up to me with their opinion on whether the baby is too cold or too hot.
I love how the people of Israel have diverse opinions on almost everything, yet everyone comes together in unity during times of celebration and hardships.
I love how the country shuts down for Jewish holidays, and how on Fridays even the radio broadcaster closes his show with “Shabbat Shalom.”
I love taking family trips to biblical places like Beersheba, Jerusalem and the Judean Hills, and studying the stories that took places there thousands of years ago.
Most of all, I love living in country where every stone, hilltop and flower is imbued with holiness and sanctity, with the story and heritage of my people.