Celebrate Israel

Celebrate Israel

Fresh Ink for Teens celebrates Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s 66th birthday, with a selection of poetry written by high school students.

A Blue Star
By David Zarowin

My grandmother did not cry
   when she told me about her parents, her sister, her cousins.
She did not cry
   when she told me about childhood friends.
She did not cry
   when she told me of her wartime wanderings and the children she lost.
She did not cry
   when she told me about the stunned and hollow-eyed people in the DP camp.
But she cried on Yom Ha’Atzmaut as she held my hand
   and waved the blue and white flag whose star was not yellow. .

This poem was written in memory of my grandmother Renee Stern z”l, a survivor of the Holocaust who died September 2013.


Notes tucked into the stones of the Western Wall. A Land Tells a Story
By Avigail Goldberger

I touch the wall, its smooth hewn stone
It stands so proud, seems all alone
Yet I shed tears of my hopes and fears
And I know my voice is heard

I walk the streets from place to place
Somehow I sense the path I trace
My feet not the first, my heart may burst
And I remember the ones I follow

I visit my forefathers, buried in the cave
Their presence is strong even after the grave
Prayers fill the air, silent yet surely there
And I realize I am not alone

I see my people with a quiet confidence
An enduring nation with solid defense
Against all odds we exist, somehow we persist
And I whisper an earnest thanks

I turn my mind to my homeland every day
Every thought, every breath is a tribute I pay
With God by my side, I have no need to hide
And I feel I am part of a whole


Home A photo of Jessica Snouwaert at the Western Wall in Jerusalem.
By Jessica Snouwaert

Kissing the wall and seeing the sky.
The reflection in a stranger’s eye,
That’s so familiar and yet so far –
Just like the desert when alive with stars,
Or a cave of darkness, lit by a voice’s sound,
Just in the days when the festivals come around,
Finding silence in winds bliss,
visiting Israel was my granted wish.


A Day of Triumph
By Michelle Zalta

Falling bodies, rising flag.
Grievances, celebration.
Silence throughout, cheers all around.
We go through it all,
Fighting for what we believe,
makes us who we are.

Our nation is one,
Our land is one,
And we are one.
Rising through the tragedies,
Into who we are today,
Makes us truly special.


A group waves the Israeli flag while marching in the Salute to Israel parade. A Waving Flag 
By Rachel Isayev

I feel the wind against my skin
As I am swooshed from left to right.
Your cheering and laughter fills my ears.
The joy and sunshine overcome my sight.
The fight was worth this success.
Now you can wave me with every right.





My Israel
By Ninette Smouha

Sometimes I sit and wonder
How the State of Israel was started
How thousands of Jews moved
And hundreds of families were parted

But then I stand at the Kotel
And look at the people rejoice
And I know those thousands of people
Look down and smile at their choice

Because 66 years ago
people didn't get to see
All the famous spots I visit
with my family

So people around me have to see
How lucky they really are
To look around and see the state
From north to south — near and far


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