Nothing Can Rain on Our Parade: Am Yisrael Chai!  

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Flyers and ads for today's Salute to Israel parade announced that the parade would proceed, rain or shine. For a while, it looked as though we would have no shine, since the weather forecast ominously predicted rain for today. Since something like a little rain would not stop me from coming to support Israel and cheer on those marching, I packed an umbrella and went off to 5th Avenue. It became apparent to me soon enough that not only was my umbrella unnecessary, but that bringing sunglasses and sunscreen would have been much more worthwhile. The threatening clouds were only present for the beginning of the parade, and they soon disappeared, allowing the sun to shine down and illuminate the cheerful proceedings.

Men, women, students, children, and dogs were all there to display their pride for Israel. Both those marching and those observing waved Israeli flags and cheered. And one of the things I love most about these parades for Israel is the incredible sense of unity. There is a connection, a special bond, between all the people who show up to the parade. It does not matter who they are or how they identify themselves -- if they are religious, non-religious, Orthodox, Conservative, wearing a kippa or bareheaded, wearing a short skirt or pants -- they are all there together to show their love for Israel and the Jewish nation. And that's beautiful. Seeing all these people -- thousands of them -- together in one place and for a common cause is beautiful. I could have cried out of pride.

I spent a couple of hours at the parade and then made my way through Central Park to the Summerstage, where the Israel Day Concert was taking place. At that point, the sun came out full force and I felt myself baking in its heat. It cooled down eventually though, so I stayed for a while. There was music, dancing, and singing as everyone celebrated together.

Next time though, I am bringing sunscreen even if rain is expected. My face is not looking happy right now -- I don't think I've been this burnt since last summer!

Their signs said things like "I found my heart/brain/courage in Israel"
Dmitriy Salita
People were dancing and singing and celebrating
The Maccabeats

No Pressure  

Posted by inkstainedhands in , , ,

To quote my niece: "Why don't you just quickly choose a chosson and get married?"

She even had suggestions. I sense a shadchan in the making. ;]

And I also sense that I won't be hearing the end of it until I hand her an invitation to my wedding... which still doesn't have anyone in the main role.

How to Capture a Military Dictator  

Posted by inkstainedhands

From Wikipedia, about the capture of Manual Noriega, the military dictator of Panama, during George Bush's administration:

Operation Nifty Package was an operation launched by Navy SEALs to prevent the escape of Noriega. They sank Noriega's boat and destroyed his jet at a cost of 4 killed and 9 wounded. Military operations continued for several weeks, mainly against military units of the Panamanian Army. Noriega remained at large for several days, but realizing he had few options in the face of a massive manhunt, with a one million dollar reward for his capture, he obtained refuge in the Vatican diplomatic mission in Panama City. The US military's psychological pressure on him and diplomatic pressure on the Vatican mission, however, was relentless, as was the playing of loud rock-and-roll music day and night in a densely populated area. The report of the Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff maintains that the music was used principally to prevent parabolic microphones from being used to eavesdrop on negotiations, and not as a psychological weapon based around Noriega's supposed loathing of rock music. Noriega finally surrendered to the U.S. military on January 3, 1990. He was immediately put on an MC-130 Combat Talon aircraft and extradited to the United States.

This is one of those things that just make you smile as you study for a history test. :] Who says there is no humor in history?


Posted by inkstainedhands in , , ,

My niece and nephew were at my house for Shabbat, and at one point, my niece turned to me and asked with a straight face, "When are you getting married?" My father and I exchanged looks, amused by the question and by the fact that it was my eight-year-old niece who was asking it. I cautiously replied that I might first have to find someone to marry before I can start planning the wedding, and I inquired why she was asking this all of a sudden. Her reply? She wants to wear a beautiful gown and wants to know when she can do that. I promised her that I would let her know as soon as I knew the answer myself.

It was her next question though that really surprised me. She wanted to know at what age I want to get married -- young or older. She elaborated that young was at 19 or 20 and older is basically anything above that number.

So this is just to let all you girls know -- if you're above 20, you are apparently older. Who knew?