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Yom HaAtzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, is coming up this week. Brachot!!!
There are many ways to celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut. In Israel, some throw confetti. Some take white foam and shpritz others that will not appreciate it. I take the white foam cans from the children and whack them with it.
The one tradition that all Israelis share is the BBQ at the Park. Saying the Hallel prayer of thanks, waving Israeli flags, and Israeli dancing are not practiced by all. All Israelis agree on eating. So, if you want to celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut like an Israeli, here’s how do the BBQ:
Make a Mangal
The Known as Mangal, the Israeli BBQ, is tiny. Israel is a small country, and therefore we cook on a BBQ that is too small to cook on. It is traditionally the size of a matchbox. If it can fit both a hotdog and chicken wing on it at the same time, it is too big.
You can find these contraptions for outdoor cooking in Israeli grocery stores, such as Super, Giant, Mega, Great, Huge and Gadol, and any other name for extremely big. These supermarkets will also provide you with the necessary food items for the family, such as 50 gram bags of family party size Doritos.
To add to the full feel of a holiday, yell at the family. The Mangal allows for great addition to the holidays spirit by yelling at the kids. If they complain, you can respond with, ‘You just had half a hotdog an hour ago. Think of the other people for once!’ Then justify the lack of production, by having people think you are cooking with a crockpot, with sentences like, ‘It is time-cooking, takes time.’ This statement works perfectly with an Israeli accent.
To make it a fuller Israeli experience, talk with as much of a lisp as possible. You should also remember to pronounce every silent letter that is not supposed to be there, such as the ‘e’s in ‘people.’
Remember, holidays are about memories, not enjoyment.
Do Not Eat Falafel
No real Israeli eats falafel on Yom HaAtzmaut. We are celebrating freedom on this day. We are not celebrating the fact that we are located in the Middle East. We are trying to forget that today.
I understand that your diaspora community serves falafel on this day, but we Israelis celebrate Israel. We are not celebrating extreme uses of oil today. We do that on Chanukah.
Shawarma is fine, as it reminds people of Israel
Purchase Chicken Dogs
It's most impossible to find beef dogs in Israel. The chicken dog tradition is because we should not enjoy ourselves too much. We must always remember the destruction of the Temple, and not having beef hotdogs is a good reminder.
I don’t get it. But that seems to be what people do in Israel. The fact that they look like beef dogs before they are cooked, adds something to the holiday. Again, I do not understand how people are satisfied with this lack of enjoyment; but the Temple was destroyed, and I remember how beef dogs taste.
Wave at the Fire
The number one Israeli tradition on Yom HaAtzmaut is to Nifnoof. Nifnoofing is the way to keep an Israeli mangal going. The correct Nifnooging practice is to find a piece of cardboard in the trash at the park. Then, you wave at the fire in hopes that it won't stop, by greeting it.
Have At Least Men Working on the Mangal
You want to cook in quorum form, as it is communal experience.
The most manly act, know to man, is BBQ or Mangaling. If you, as a man, see another man there, you want to make sure to claim your spot near the Mangal. Even if you have no Nifnoofing implement, you can still stand there and wave, or talk. Talking by the Mangal also shows your manliness, also known as being a Gever. Note: You don't want to be talking near the salads. Though, talking near the salatim, dips, is acceptable.
Do Not Use an Electric or Gas BBQ
That is too easy. All good Jewish holidays need preparation and cleanup. You just finished Pesach, you should know this.
Go to the Park & Occupy It
Don’t just do the BBQ. Go to a crowded park and share in what the world calls the occupation.
Bring chairs. When practicing the occupation, you want to be prepared with comfort. A lot of families like to bring couches and tables, so that the other people know that they are moving there. You might want to put together a moving team to help with your refrigerator.
It is almost impossible to find a place in the parks on Yom HaAtzmaut. After searching for 5 hours you will find many dads protesting, ‘We have found a spot, we are not leaving… I can care less if you are tired... We still have to get the second chicken dog going on the Mangal...’
If the park is closed this year, to show solidarity, you can pull out a bed and box-spring to your lawn.
Bring a Portable Speaker to the Park
This will allow you to connect with the modern Israeli tradition of playing the music you like extremely loudly. This also helps with claiming your spot in the park. Many families come to overcrowded parks, walk around blasting Netta Barzilai, and space opens up.
You can do this by blasting your own Uncle Moishy with your subwoofers. Blasting that out of the back of your car will definitely chase everybody else out of the neighborhood.
Cook on The Ground
When you do a Mangal, you want to connect to the land. Israel is holy land, and we therefore connect to it when we eat. You still eat at a table. You're not an animal.
So, take over the park or your front lawn. Hang that Israeli flag (if you're in America, don't hang an American flag- Americans will protest that). Blast that Jewish music you love, maybe some Shteeble Hoppers, and get the Hebrew pumping in your veins. Try to find some chicken dogs at some discount store, make that BBQ a Mangal, and wave at it like a good Nifnoofer. Your neighbors might even think you're saying 'Shalom' to them, and start to like the Jews.
Remember: It's Independence Day, and as any good American, we Israelis celebrate with a BBQ.
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Wearing Israeli flags. Showing their support for Israel at the rally in DC. It would’ve been smarter if they brought coats. Based on experience, flags don’t work as good windbreakers.