This season in the Jewish calendar takes us from the ancient joy of the holiday of Passover through two days of solemn memorial, to the modern joy of the state of Israel. On the evening of April 7, Jews throughout the world observe Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, a day on which we remember the 6 million Jews who perished under Nazi persecution during World War II. One week later, we also turn to memory as we honor the fallen heroes of Israel’s Defense Force, the IDF, on Yom HaZikaron, Israeli Memorial Day. The roller coaster of emotions at this season quickly moves to a crescendo, as we prepare Monday evening, at the conclusion of Yom HaZikaron, and immediately celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, on April 15. These modern holidays were calendared on the heels of the Jewish celebration of redemption from Egyptian slavery, Passover. It is not mere coincidence, but an intentional thread of understanding the valleys and the peaks of life, to experience each year our people’s collective story, both ancient and modern.
This year, Temple Bat Yam will celebrate with Jewish people around the world as Israel marks its 65th year as a modern state. In 1948, Israel declared independence following the end of the British Mandate, which governed the historic land of Israel, until that year. Over the following 65 years, the modern state of Israel has had its challenges, yes. However, the flourishing Jewish culture, the contributions to technology and the possibilities of this “start-up” Nation (Reference to Start-up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle by Dan Senor and Saul Singer 2009) are duly celebrated on this 65th anniversary.
We invite anyone who is interested in celebrating Israel to join Temple Bat Yam on April 15. We will enjoy Israeli foods, Israeli folk dancing and a short presentation from a veteran of the Israel Defense Forces. This is a day we put aside our healthy debate about Israel’s future and short past, and simply celebrate her 65 years of existence.