Being a haredi on Independence Day means that as early as Holocaust Remembrance Day you prepare yourself for being slammed by seculars.
Being a haredi on Independence Day is to be embarrassed at the light when you realize you’re the only one without an Israeli flag on your car window. Yet then you see a leftist in the car right next to you also without a flag and you happily comfort yourself by saying that there are no more Zionists today, and that Zionism has died. You then proceed to offer an enthusiastic lecture on the matter to the other people in your car.
Being a haredi on Independence Day in a secular neighborhood means suddenly being proud of your second cousin, whose name you forget, who was a kashrut supervisor in the army for a week. This way you prove to your neighbors that haredim also perform military service.
Being a haredi kid on Independence Day is as depressing as it gets, unless Yankel from second grade tells you that “we don’t believe in the infidel rule,” making you feel that there is at least some ideology involved in going to school when everyone else has a day off.
We still care
Being a haredi on Independence Day means watching the traditional torch-lighting ceremony at your neighbor’s home (or in the new age, on the Internet) and feeling a little touched, even though outwardly you seem to disparage the ceremony. After all, who knows about ceremonies more than the haredim? They invented them.
Being a haredi on Independence Day means sitting by the window at 10 PM with the children, as long as they’re wearing their pajamas, watching the fireworks, saying “wow” after each explosion, and at the end of the show whining that the money could have been earmarked for the needy or for some yeshiva.
And on a final note: Being a haredi on Independence Day means that even though you don’t celebrate the holiday like everyone else, you are still concerned about the fate of the country. You show interest and listen to the news updates on the radio every hour. And even though you’re a minority, you nonetheless feel as though you’re an inseparable part of the people.
But you have to admit it: Being a haredi on Independence Day is quite an embarrassment.
Wishing you a happy Independence Day!