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April 27, 2015 / 8 Iyar, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Yom Haatzmaut’

Yom HaAtzma’ut Crowds Overwhelm 4 Heritage Sites on Israel’s Independence Day

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Site-seeing crowds overwhelmed at least four heritage sites this Yom Ha’Atzma’ut (Independence Day), prompting officials to close their doors temporarily.

The public is asked to first confirm reservations for entry to the following sites due to overcrowding:

Bank of Israel Museum, Jerusalem Menachem Begin Heritage Center, Jerusalem Ayalon Institute, Rehovot Illegal Immigrants’ Camp, Atlit

There are numerous other heritage sites throughout the country, and all are open to the public as usual.

PM Netanyahu’s Independence Day Message (+Video)

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Israel’s Independence Day is a time for celebration. And for justified pride in Israel’s many amazing successes.

For some two millennia the Jewish people had been stateless and powerless, and, of course, defenseless in the face of its enemies. After 2000 years of exile we returned to our historic homeland to re-establish our independence and sovereignty.

Yet we didn’t only create a state.

We have ingathered into our homeland a people that had been scattered around the globe.

We have defended ourselves against the attacks of hostile neighbors, overcoming threats faced by no other country.

We have built a vibrant democracy in which freedom is sacrosanct, guaranteeing equality under the law and the rights of every citizen. We have created a robust economy, a global technological superpower.

We have signed peace treaties with two of our Arab neighbors, while we quietly talk with many more.

And while doing all this we have enjoyed the passionate friendship of so many around the world. Jews and non-Jews alike have united to speak out for Israel’s right to security and a peaceful future.

This support from our friends, together with Israel’s vibrant democracy, free economy, strong army and commitment to our shared values, form the foundation of our national strength.

So on this 66th Independence Day, I want to thank Israel’s many friends around the globe for their steadfast support for the one and only Jewish state.

And I would like to send special greetings to our special friends who have gathered at Phillips Square in Montreal to celebrate with us. Your show of support for Israel today reflects the strong friendship shared by the Israeli and Canadian peoples. The bond between us was strengthened even further this past January when I had the pleasure of hosting my friend Prime Minister Harper here in Jerusalem.

On behalf of the people of Israel, thank you all for your friendship and for your support.

Israel’s Declaration of Independence Printed in Major U.S. Newspapers

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

(JTA) — A full-page advertisement reproducing Israel’s Declaration of Independence appeared in The New York Times and USA Today.

The Helmsley Charitable Trust funded the ads in Monday’s editions on the eve of Israel’s Independence Day.

“By publishing Israel’s founding document in two of the most widely read newspapers across the country, we will reach many Americans who often don’t have the chance to learn about the deep similarities between our countries due to media coverage that focuses primarily on conflict,” Helmsley trustee Sandor Frankel said in a statement. “The promise of Israel’s founders to uphold, in a Jewish state, social and political equality of all citizens without distinction of race, creed or sex; to guarantee the full freedom of conscience, worship, education, and culture; to safeguard the sanctity of holy places of all religions; and the call for peace with all neighboring states, resonates with America’s own deepest values.”

The ad, which also is available online, is being distributed by the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, the umbrella of some 50 American national Jewish organizations.

The Helmsley Trust has awarded more than $110 million in grants to Israeli organizations since 2009, mainly to Israeli scientific, technological and medical research.

66 Israeli Heroes Share a Message for 66 Years of Israel

Tuesday, May 6th, 2014

Nefesh B’Nefesh, the Aliyah organization assisting Olim from North America and the UK, in cooperation with The Jewish Agency for Israel, the Ministry of Aliyah and Immigrant Absorption, Keren Kayemeth Le’Israel, JNF-USA and the Friends of the IDF, has produced a short video in honor of Israel’s Independence Day, in which Israeli heroes together with new and veteran Olim, recite Israel’s Declaration of Independence translated into English.

The purpose of the video is to inspire Jews around the world while reminding them of the significance and miracle of the Jewish State.

Am Yisrael Chai…

Thousands of Israelis Usher In Yom HaAtzma’ut

Monday, May 5th, 2014

At community centers, public parks, city squares, and in private homes, Israelis returned the national flag to full staff as darkness fell tonight, marking the end of Yom HaZikaron and ushering in the Yom HaAtzma’ut (Independence Day) holiday.

In addition, thousands of Israelis attended festive synagogue services as day turned to night. A variety of religious customs have developed to mark the day when Jewish sovereignty returned to the Land of Israel, including celebratory Shofar blasts to conclude services tonight and the recitation of the Hallel prayer tomorrow morning.

For the first time, Reform Jews in Israel have followed suit and have moved to invest Yom HaAtzma’ut with religious meaning: “Rabbi” Gilad Kariv, director of the Reform movement in Israel, said Reform congregations would conduct “havdalah” services tonight to mark the transition from Yom HaZikaron to Yom HaAtzma’ut. Reform cantors will also perform operatic renditions of Israel’s Declaration of Independence.

Speaking at a Yom HaZikaron ceremony this morning, President Shimon Peres said Israel is “a wonder to the world,” and predicted the country is on “a runway to a greater future for the next generation.”

Peres then repeated the prayer of every Israeli for peace, but re-iterated that the country must still live by the sword.

“The battle is not over, we have not reached our goals,” Peres said.

With the onset of the holiday, downtown Jerusaelem came to a halt, as tens of thousands of revellers welcomed the holiday in bars, restaurants, open-air cafes and public spaces. As in previous years, rowdy teenagers – and more than a few young-at-heart adults – banged plastic hammers on the heads of strangers and sprayed silly string at passers-by.

Tomorrow, on Yom HaAtzma’ut, police expect heavy traffic on roads around the country as Israelis celebrate a rare non-religious holiday. With temperatures above 30 degrees Centigrade (86 Farenheit) expected around the country, beaches, national parks, tourist sites and natural springs are expected to be packed to capacity by the mid-morning hours.

San Francisco Jews to Ramp Down Yom HaAtzma’ut Celebration

Monday, May 5th, 2014

The Jewish community in northern California has decided to ramp down its annual “celebrate Israel” festivities with a 90-minute downtown ceremony, on Yom HaAtzma’ut.

The gathering will be a sharp step down from previous years, when Jews from around the Bay Area met in the scenic Yerba Buena Gardens on the first Sunday in June for a daylong event to mark Israel’s independence. That event has traditionally attracted up to 15,000 of revellers from the Bay Area and around northern California.

Jewish Federation spokespeople announced on March 7 that the community would be taking a “shmita year” — to rethink and re-imagine this significant community event, but stressed that the event would be a landmark celebration of Israel in the heart of San Francisco.

“This event represents the coming together of local Jews, expatriate Israelis, and many others who feel passionate about Israel… (it will)mark a happy occasion for Israel and our Bay Area Jewish community,”  said Donny Inbar, Associate Director for Arts and Culture at the Israel Center, a project of the Jewish Community Federation of San Francisco, Peninsula, Marin & Sonoma.

Speaking to the Northern California Jewish Bulletin, Inbar said the event would be a non-political way to say “we love you, Israel.”

Inbar did not say whether the decision to minimize the Yom HaAtzma’ut celebration was a response to pressure from anti-Israel groups operating in the area.

But it is significant to note that northern California is one of the most liberal areas in the United States, and a hotbed of anti-Israel activity: Palestinian activists routinely picket the Israeli consulate in the city, often outnumbering pro-Israel counter-protesters by more than ten to one. In past years, participants in pro-Israel events have been heckled, and posters condemning Israeli “apartheid” are commonplace around the city.

In addition, for years Jewish students at universities in San Francisco, Berkeley and around northern California have reported that they routinely feel threatened by Palestinian protesters on and off campus. One Jewish student at the University of California, Berkeley, was attacked by a Palestinian with a shopping cart after expressing pro-Israel views. Across San Francisco Bay, at California State University, San Francisco, campus security forces had to rescue Jewish students from Palestinian wearing shirts that said “My heroes have always killed colonizers.” There are more examples.

In class, too, Jewish students have reported that history and political science professors routinely make clear that pro-Israel views are not to be considered a legitimate part of their classroom debate.

Why We are Here: Israel at 66

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Jews all over the world celebrate Israel’s Independence Day – even those who have no intention of ever

coming on ‘aliya’, and many of whom have never even visited Israel. “It’s a kind of insurance policy” one

overseas friend told me. “By supporting Israel financially and emotionally, I know that its sanctuary is

available to me or my children or grandchildren should the need ever arise.”

I find this kind of thinking very sad, because Israel is so much more than a refuge for persecuted Jews.

Not every immigrant who has built a life here was escaping from the horror of the Holocaust, the tyranny behind the Iron Curtain or the cruelty of life in an Arab country.

Many of us (the ones Israelis refer to as “Anglo-

Saxim) lowered their standard of living significantly when they settled in Israel,

yet found something here that

enhanced their quality of life

even as they struggled with inflation, mortgages and trying to make miniscule

salaries stretch to the end of the month.

We found here a family – our own people.

Of course, just like any family, we fight … about religion, politics,

,the settlements – the fights can be very bitter.

Yet at bottom we care about each other and bond together when

we face a common enemy.

We celebrate together and sometimes even have to grieve together.

Basically,when the going gets rough, we are on the same side.

We express our identity as Jews in different ways, but it is

the same identity.

We found here a beautiful country,

unique in the variety of its scenery and climate.

Meditteranean beaches banded by azure and indigo water

and pure white sand; coral reefs; dense forests; wooded mountains;

deserts and rivers and waterfalls; the shimmering mirrored glass of the Dead Sea;

fields carpeted with wildflowers –

and Jerusalem, the priceless jewel.

Some of us found here a spirituality that we’d never been able to achieve abroad.

Anyone who has been in Israel on Yom Kippur

when the whole country comes to a standstill for one day,

cannot doubt the “kedusha,”the holiness of Eretz Israel.

It is intangible, yet it is an undeniable presence.

We found here a pride in the remarkable achievements of this tiny country.

We can match, and surpass,

the high-tech of much bigger, richer and better developed nations.

We teach agriculture to the world.

Many of our scientists have won the Nobel Prize.

When any new Israeli invention captures the world’s imagination,

somehow we all bask in the reflected glory.

Israelis have always been compared to the Sabra –

the cactus with the thorny exterior but the soft heart.

We celebrate Yom HaTzma’ut in many ways –

campfires and singing, picnics, a Bible Quiz,

concerts, music and dancing in the streets.

We spend the day with family and friends and relish every moment of it.

But it is more than just enjoyment.

On every building, the Israeli flag flies.

Almost every balcony in every city flies

the white flag with the blue Magen David, the Shield of David.

And for days beforehand and a week afterwards,

the Israeli flag flies from every car on the road.

Every ceremony opens with the singing of

“HaTikva” – the Hope – Israel’s national anthem.

We sing it standing straight and proud,

and usually with tears

in our eyes

as we remember the broken people who found a safe haven here,

and those who never managed to

reach its shores and died with the dream of Zion in their hearts.

And we also remember the brave men and

women who gave their lives in all of Israel’s wars,

and in the pre-State days, the fighters and pioneers who

fashioned this wonderful land that we have inherited.

Shin Shalom, one of Israel’s greatest poets,

expressed it for all of us in his “Mother Jerusalem Singing”,

which he wrote a day after the Yom Kippur War in 1973:

“Love forever, glow forever,

cherish, yearn, preserve the kernel

of an everlasting nation, of a heritage eternal.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/why-we-are-here-israel-at-66/2014/04/30/

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