Eretz-Yisrael

Like the sunrise You make me wonder How the Almighty can make conundrum As the waves sore high you glide it for a ride Its wonder to see the woman of valour. Create a night , cosign our lives Insight on the heights, Searching for the right, meaning of life. It takes more than one day just like catching your best wave I know it isn’t fair because I wouldn’t dare to declare It be a strangers’ love affair To say I glaze at the waves Even if you want to play I can not stay, From dust to dawn the waves will paint my daydream. In a complete siren state I can forget everything, and believe in the unseen. But how unbecoming of me It’s time for reality because everything is meant to be. Which is a wonder to see!

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Mizrahi/Sephardic Jews sing middle eastern/north African Shabbat songs

Mizrahi/Sephardic Jews are the indigenous Jewish communities of the middle east & north Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine, Yemen, Iran, Afghanistan, Turkey, Kurdistan, Uzbekistan etc.

Welcome to Israel! on Flickr.

Israel/Jordan Wadi Arab Crossing
Eilat, Israel 02 May 2009 [ref: IL09-0008]

Past & Future in our Hands.

by Karen Gillerman-Harel

With an extraordinary blend of sensitivity and symbolism she succeeded in bridging the past with the future through the arms of Polish-born Auschwitz survivor Dora Dreiblat, born in 1922, and her great granddaughter Daniela Har-Zvi, born in 2007 in Israel.

The infant’s hand, stretched out towards the number on her great grandmother’s arm, links the future, the present and the past over the flag of Israel, making the photograph a compelling historical document.

The Pillar of Heroism on Flickr.

Yad VaShem, Mt. Herzl, Jerusalem, Israel
04 May 2009 [ref: IL09-0862]

“To the martyrs
To the ghetto fighters
To the partisans
To those who rebelled in the camps
To the fighters of the underground
To the soldiers in the armies
To those who saved their brethren
To the courageous people who took part in the clandestine immigration
The heroes of valor and revolt
For everlasting life”

Jerusalem - Palestine

“By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat & wept when we remembered Zion. If I forget you O Jerusalem, may my right hand forget her skill”. - Psalm 137:1-5

“Glory be to Him Who made His servant to go on a night from the Sacred Mosque to the remote mosque of which We have blessed the precincts, so that We may show to him some of Our signs; surely He is the Hearing, the Seeing.” - Sura 17 (Al-Is'ra)

So once upon a time I moved to Israel

…And totally disappeared from Tumblr.  This is because I’ve been running around like crazy trying to take care of immigration issues such as my ID card, getting a phone and a bank account, and registering for the free Hebrew classes they give to all Olim.  Also, this is because I’m taking lots of pictures on my phone and I’m trying to find a way to get them to Tumblr as a photo set so I’m not making 40 posts at once.

Also, I have things to say (valuable things! with meaning!), and it’s taking me longer than usual to organize my thoughts because this has been the most overwhelming, powerful, and personal experience of my life.  Also, pretty much every time I sit down to try to write something, my sexy Israeli boyfriend (whole post about him later, the story’s a little embarrassing, but what else is Tumblr for?) distracts me in one way or another.

But a quick update: Jerusalem is easily the prettiest place I’ve ever SEEN, let alone lived in, in my life.  I live smack in the middle of downtown Jerusalem (Ben Yehuda street, for those of you familiar with the city), which is convenient because any government office or bar I may need/want to go to is within a 10 minute walk.  The architecture is really beautiful, and the people are both really friendly and very helpful!  The Hebrew isn’t coming along quite as fast as I’d hoped, since everyone talks to me in English (much easier than having to pantomime alongside the Hebrew!), but I start Ulpan on Thursday so I should be fluent-ish in 5 months or less.

More information on the Aliyah process and pictures of the city coming soon!

10

Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame. Blessed is the flame that burns in the secret fastness of the heart. Blessed is the heart with strength to stop its beating for honor’s sake. Blessed is the match consumed in kindling flame.

- Ashrei Hagafrur (Blessed is the Match), Hannah Szenes

Hannah Szenes (often anglicized as Hannah Senesh or Chana Senesh; Hebrew: חנה סנש‎; Hungarian: Szenes Anikó; July 17, 1921 – November 7, 1944) was one of 37 Jews from Mandatory Palestine parachuted by the British Army into Yugoslavia during the Second World War to assist in the rescue of Hungarian Jews about to be deported to the German death camp at Auschwitz.

Szenes was arrested at the Hungarian border, then imprisoned and tortured, but refused to reveal details of her mission. She was eventually tried and executed by firing squad. She is regarded as a national heroine in Israel, where her poetry is widely known and the headquarters of the Zionist youth movements Israel Hatzeira, a kibbutz and several streets are named after her.

Szenes was born on July 17, 1921, to an assimilated Jewish family in Hungary. Her father, Béla Szenes, a journalist and playwright, died when she was six years old. She continued to live with her mother, Catherine, and her brother, György (Giora).

She enrolled in a Protestant private school for girls that also accepted Catholic and Jewish pupils; most of those of the Jewish faith had to pay three times the amount Catholics paid. However, Senesh only had to pay twice the regular tuition because she was considered a “Gifted Student”. This, along with the realization that the situation of the Jews in Hungary was becoming precarious, prompted Szenes to embrace Zionism, and she joined Maccabea, a Hungarian Zionist students organization.

Szenes graduated in 1939 and decided to emigrate to what was then the British Mandate of Palestine in order to study in the Girls’ Agricultural School at Nahalal. In 1941, she joined Kibbutz Sdot Yam and then joined the Haganah, the paramilitary group that laid the foundation of the Israel Defense Forces. In 1943, she enlisted in the British Army in the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force as an Aircraftwoman 2nd Class and began her training in Egypt as a paratrooper for the British Special Operations Executive (SOE).

On March 14, 1944, she and colleagues Yoel Palgi and Peretz Goldstein were parachuted into Yugoslavia and joined a partisan group. After landing, they learned the Germans had already occupied Hungary, so the men decided to call off the mission as too dangerous. Szenes continued on and headed for the Hungarian border. At the border, she and her companions were arrested by Hungarian gendarmes, who found her British military transmitter, used to communicate with the SOE and other partisans. Hannah was taken to a prison, stripped, tied to a chair, then whipped and clubbed for three days. She lost several teeth as a result of the beating. The guards wanted to know the code for her transmitter so they could find out who the parachutists were and trap others. Transferred to a Budapest prison, Szenes was repeatedly interrogated and cruelly tortured, but she only revealed her name and refused to provide the transmitter code, even when her mother was also arrested. They threatened to kill her mother if she did not cooperate, but she held firm (and probably saved her mother’s life as a result).

While in prison, Szenes used a mirror to flash signals out of the window to prisoners in other cells and communicated using large cut-out letters that she placed in her cell window one at a time and by drawing the Magen David in the dust. She tried to keep their spirits up by singing, and through all the things Szenes went through she still kept her spirit high and stayed true to her mission.

She was tried for treason on October 28, 1944. There was an eight-day postponement to give the judges more time to find a verdict, followed by another postponement, this one because of the appointment of a new Judge Advocate. She was executed by a firing squad. She kept diary entries until her last day, November 7, 1944 when she was executed by a German firing squad. One of them read: “In the month of July, I shall be twenty-three/I played a number in a game/The dice have rolled. I have lost,” and another: “I loved the warm sunlight.”

Her diary was published in Hebrew in 1946. Her remains were brought to Israel in 1950 and buried in the cemetery on Mount Herzl, Jerusalem. Her tombstone was brought to Israel in November 2007 and placed in Sdot Yam.

During the trial of Rudolf Kastner, Hannah’s mother, Catherina Senesh, testified that during the time her daughter was imprisoned, Kastner’s people had advised her not to obtain a lawyer for her daughter. Further, she recalled a conversation with Kastner after the war, telling him, “I don’t say that you could have saved my daughter Hannah, but that you didn’t try - it makes it harder for me that nothing was done.”

After the Cold War, a Hungarian military court officially exonerated her. Her kin in Israel were informed on November 5, 1993. (via)

photographs:

Hannah Szenes in uniform.

Hannah Szenes in a Hungarian army uniform as a Purim costume.

Mandatory Palestine, Hannah Szenes dancing with her friends in a kibbutz.

A teenage Hannah Szenes on a hike with friends.

Hannah Szenes and her brother, Budapest, 1924

Hannah Szenes prior to the war.

A monument with Hannah Szenes’ portrait and the words to “Ashrei Hagafrur” (Blessed is the Match), a poem that she wrote.

Budapest, Hungary, Hannah Szenes as a child.

Hannah Szenes in 1938.

Jerusalem, Israel, Postwar, Hannah Szenes’ coffin, prior to burial.

all images from the Yad Vashem photo archive