As we celebrate Israel's 57th birthday today, I'd like to wish everyone a Chag Sameach - a very Happy Yom Ha'atzmaut!
Anyone who's reading this certainly already recognizes the significance of the day. We, who are all so connected to the world of Israeli culture, should be so proud of Israel and its accomplishments in 57 short years. If this day never occurred, there would be no Israeli music, no Israel Hour, no Kochav Nolad, Reshet Gimmel, Kdam Eurovision...all that we love about Israeli music can be tied into the events that took place 57 years ago.
Growing up in New Jersey, I never felt a "real" connection. Sure, Israel was "there," and a nice place to visit. Good falafel, too. But when I became interested in Israeli music, a bond began to form. All of a sudden, Israel was a part of me like never before. Even though I still don't always understand all of the lyrics, every word of every song tells a story about Israel, its people, its fears and dreams, its history and its culture. And the nicest thing about it is that the majority of Israeli singers seem to feel it too. How many American singers spend their careers singing patriotic songs about the USA?
Please - in some small way, celebrate Israel today...because now, more than ever, Am Yisrael Chai!