Posts Tagged ‘Israeli flag’

Joyfully Lowering The Flag

October 19, 2011

This piece was first published as “Taking Down Gilad Shalit’s Flag” on The Sisterhood blog of the Forward.

On Tuesday we lowered the flag. To be exact, we completely removed it with the prayer that it will never need to be raised again.

I am speaking of the foam and plastic Israeli flag that has been tied by a blue ribbon to a tree in our yard since Gilad Shalit was abducted by Hamas on June 25, 2006. We vowed not to remove it until Shalit was safely at home in the loving embrace of his family. My husband has had a Gilad Shalit sticker on his car all this time, and my boys have worn Gilad Shalit dog tags, bracelets and t-shirts off and on over these long five years and four months, but that flag has been the most enduring symbol of our solidarity with the kidnapped soldier and all those who have worked to free him.

The flag, one of hundreds I had ordered for Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations at the school I used to run in New York, moved with us to California, and then from one house to another. We carefully removed it from a tree at our first house, and carried it by hand to our new one. We chose to affix it to an orange tree in our new yard. Ours are not Jaffa oranges, but they are close enough.

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© 2011 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Threesome For Israel

November 30, 2010

Anyone else finding this is a bit kinky? But then again, it’s nice to see young people so patriotic. There are no prudish limits on Zionist creative expression, apparently.

Photo from I ♥ Israel on Facebook

© 2010 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.

Meet Me At The Fair

April 21, 2010

I didn’t make it to Beijing for the 2008 Summer Olympics, and my chances of getting to Shanghai for Expo 2010 this summer are very slim. More like nil, really. It’s too bad, because World’s Fairs and Expos have actually played important roles in my family’s history. My maternal grandparents met at the 1939 New York’s World’s Fair. Well, not exactly in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, but nearby enough – on the Jersey shore. My grandmother was accompanying her mother there for a little R & R, and my grandfather was making a side trip to the beach from the fair. He and his best friend had driven down from Montreal, and it was the friend who first spied my tall, attractive grandmother in her bathing suit, but she only had eyes for my grandfather.

Montreal’s Expo ’67 was a big deal for my family, with my father’s relatives from Alberta and British Columbia flying out to stay with my mother, father and me and visit the fair. One would think that this would not have been so significant for me, since I was less than a year old at the time and experienced the whole thing from stroller seat-level. But it was retroactively meaningful, because our time there was documented by my father and grandfather on Super 8 film, and not long ago my father transferred the footage to a DVD for me to keep. I am grateful to have these precious moments captured and saved, not only so I can reconnect with my infant self, but so that I can also share with my children clear moving pictures of their great-grandparents, whom they never knew, and of their grandparents in the vibrancy of their youth. (I had hoped to be able to share some of those images here, but I experienced some technical difficulties.)

Official postcard of the Israel Pavilion at Expo '67, designed by Arieh Sharon

Whoever was behind the camera was evidently most interested in filming the nifty “space-age” monorail zooming above visitors’ heads. The only footage taken of a specific building was of the Israel Pavilion, something which does not surprise me. There are several frames of large Israeli flags, their Stars of David and tallit-reminiscent stripes billowing in the wind against a clear, blue sky. You can see people coming in and out of the front of the pavilion, which appears to be a very angular, white concrete building. ISRAEL appears in big, blue, very 1960’s-style lettering above the entrance.

Israel’s pavilion in Shanghai is a far cry from the chunky structure in Montreal. A very impressive looking edifice from both within and without, it is as curved as the 1967 one was straight-edged. I can forgive its aorta-looking profile because I am especially impressed by how its architects combined and contrasted Israel’s ancient nature with its cutting edge modernity by juxtaposing stone with glass in its design. I’m sorry I am going to miss it, but fortunately, we now have digital architectural renderings that make you almost feel like you are right there…though they lack that retro-nostalgic charm of Super 8.

© 2010 Renee Ghert-Zand. All rights reserved.