For a few weeks now all of Israel has been “primed” to celebrate President Mr. Shimon Peres’ 90th Birthday within the framework of “The President’s Conference”. Last night we were all invited to enjoy “The President Peres Birthday Party” a feel good reality television show – unlike the “Big Brother Reality Game Show” no one was “marked for banishment” and no one was evicted. It was straightforward happy reality TV. Highlights included: a very proper introductory greeting from former British Prime Minister Mr. Blair, followed by singing and dancing performances, pre-recorded birthday wishes from other world leaders, a special segment of birthday greetings from children the world over, a rockin’ live speech by former USA President Mr. Clinton, and at President Mr. Peres’ request, Barbra Streisand sang “Aveinu Malkanu*”. Ms. Streisand then dedicated a live rendition of the song “People” to the President. The program ended with the Israeli national anthem “HaTikva” (“The Hope”).
This morning, my walking route took me past the President’s Residence which is “just up the road a piece” from my home. As I walked past I was treated to a highly democratic display of banners put up by the President’s neighbors.
On the building directly across the street from the Presidential Residence three neighbors got together to say “Shimon, Happy 90th Birthday, Love, Your Neighbors”
This happy message didn’t prevent the neighbor next door to them from sharing his/her thoughts:
On another nearby building the neighbor there also chose to refer to Pollard with this banner
But my favorite banner was this one, just three buildings down from the large and colorful three banners on three balconies, with typical Jewish “Chutzpah” it is a beautiful mix of good wishes and guilt producing feelings, its message reads:
“Mazal Tov (Congratulations) Honored President at 90, How is it that we weren’t invited?”
I do hope that the President’s neighbors leave the banners up throughout the summer until 2 August when President Mr. Peres will celebrate his actual birthday….May-be then the President will have an old fashioned block party, just for all of us, his local neighbors! That way, we’ll know “fer shure” that he is “Shimon, from the Block!” Happy Birthday Mr. President!
*“Aveinu Malkanu” (“Our Father, Our King”) is a Jewish prayer recited on Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur as well as during the Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh HaShanah and Yom Kippur. It is one of the oldest and most moving of all the litanies of the Jewish Year. Barbra Streisand sings a most beautiful version of the prayer which closes with the line “Aveinu Malkanu Shema Kolanu” (“Our Father, Our King, Hear Our Voice”). This prayer is especially dear to President Mr. Peres for many reasons but above all because it was his grandfather’s favorite prayer.
Photos for this blog post are by Isa David-Ben-Rafael and are owned by IsraeLightly.