Posts Tagged ‘Israel Independence Day’
Reading through one of our local Jewish newspapers, I was delighted to see a full-page advertisement publicizing a celebration for Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day. The 62nd anniversary of the resurgence of the Jewish State is certainly worthy of a party. In fact, after 2,000 years of bloodstained exile, it is an incredible, modern-day wonder.
A local supper club in Aventura, Florida was organizing the event. Live music would be provided. Two Israeli singers were scheduled to perform. The evening seemed to be planned as a gala affair.
My eyes scrolled down the page and then stopped. I was horrified to see the rest of the agenda for the evening. A “Hot Bikini Contest” was proudly touted as part of the festive program. And to think the hot debate in many communities is whether or not to say Hallel on this special day.
One does not have to be a haredi rabbi to understand that a competition like the one planned to celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut was unsuitable. A bikini contest is a totally inappropriate way to observe the commemoration of such a miraculous time in Jewish history. In fact it was bizarre.
This lack of insight to the fundamental order of life is quite disturbing. What is wrong with people who are so out of sync with the basic concept of appropriate boundaries? Unfortunately, this behavior is endemic to a segment of secular culture. It is a tragic problem.
Certainly, those who organized the Independence Day program meant no harm. They simply wanted to create a happy and upbeat party atmosphere. Nonetheless, we are once again reminded of the truth of the adage, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
Israel Independence Day is a national holiday in Israel. This year it falls on Tuesday, April 20th and is celebrated either publicly or within the family circle. The ceremonies begin eight days earlier with Holocaust Memorial Day. One week later, we commemorate Israel’s fallen soldiers and terror victims on Memorial Day. As the sun sets, the national flag is raised from half-mast, the music begins to play, and the festivities begin in honor of Israel’s 62nd anniversary.
In Zionist religious communities, a festive Ma’ariv prayer service begins with special prayers thanking God for the establishment of the State of Israel, and concludes with the Hallel prayer. Groups in many communities gather for programs of nostalgia and Israeli songs. Peace and friendship reign throughout the country.
In the morning, after the special Israel Independence Day morning prayers, many families join together for picnics and hikes. Some families travel in search of an open piece of grass on which to set up their grills and beach chairs and sit with friends and family telling stories, playing ball and eating grilled meats.
This year, a special event is being planned for the families of the thousands of Bnei Akiva graduates who attended Camp Moshava in the USA and who came on aliyah to Israel. We plan to meet in the Neot Kedumim Nature Preserve near Modiin for a day of friendship, special events and nostalgia.
Dozens of American yeshiva students from all over Israel will serve as guides and supervisors. Shiurim are scheduled throughout the day, to be given by well-known rabbis who were former Moshava campers. Ball games, competitions and special children’s activities are planned, as are nature walks and tours in the nature preserve. It should be a very exciting day for former campers, their children, grandchildren and great- grandchildren.
The massive Machanot Moshava reunion will be celebrating the following milestones:
If you can’t, or won’t, do that, your hypocrisy stands exposed in all its stunning ugliness.
Steven Plaut, a frequent contributor to The Jewish Press, is a professor at Haifa University. His book “The Scout” is available at Amazon.com. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Having recently celebrated Israel Independence Day, I wonder why so many Jews refuse to pray for the State of Israel and for our Jewish sons and daughters who serve in the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). There are those who salve their consciences by claiming that there are non-religious Jews leading Israel (as if we may only pray for religious Jews), and there are those who claim that they do not want to pray for the leaders who are selling Israel’s birthright. Others blame our sons and daughters, who serve in the IDF, for the expulsion of Jews from Gaza.
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If you do not have a copy of the Prayer for the Soldiers and for the State of Israel in your Siddur, send a stamped, self-addressed envelope to me, c/o The Jewish Press, and I will be happy to send you a copy.