Many Israeli communities celebrate Yom Ha’Atzma’ut with fireworks, and Shiloh is no exception. Decades ago, when we were living in Bayit V’Gan Jerusalem, only the big national and municipal ceremonies had such impressive displays. We could see the fireworks at Mount Herzl from our apartment and later on, when the trees got taller, from the roof of the building.
As is our custom here in Shiloh, we greet the festive day, making the transition from Memorial Day to celebrating Independence Day in the Mishkan (Tabernacle) Shiloh Synagogue when everyone comes to pray together, no matter which of the many Shiloh synagogues we normally pray in. First we pray Mincha, the afternoon prayer and then while waiting for nightfall, Rav Elchanan Bin-Nun gives an inspiring sermon. After that begins the Evening Prayer, Aravit which includes dancing and singing plus a long shofar blowing to remind us that the siren is modeled on the Jewish Biblical shofar.
I’m optimistic that things here in Israel will get better and better. It’s really up to us. That’s the “hope,” “Hatikvah,” which is based on faith in G-d.