Independence Day

My nation lives, my son is born

My nation lives, my son is born

My new baby boy Amichai Elisha was born on ה׳ אייר, on the 69th anniversary of the foundation of the Jewish State in Israel. There was a lot of speculation that we would choose a name for him that would be apropos to the day with a name such as Amichai, but the truth is we had our Ruach Hakodesh, Divine Inspiration over 5 years ago when pregnant with Ayelet, in case she was a boy. But even though we had it picked out already, the birthday definitely helps enrich and emphasise the context of his name. Amichai is a concatenation of two words, Ami – my nation – and Chai – life, literally “my nation lives.” Our Amichai was born on the anniversary of the founding of the state, which is preceded by Yom Hazikaron, memorial day for our nation’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror. This year the two days were celebrated one day late to preserve the sanctity of Shabbat, such that this year Amichai was born on Yom Hazikaron.

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Posted by Max Rabin in Essays
“Na na banana” in the Pantheon

“Na na banana” in the Pantheon

Sometimes, you encounter Jerusalem in absentia.

It happened to me once, when I walked through the Pantheon in Rome.

The ceiling curved above me, the gilded walls loomed all around me, and I knew that I was supposed to look up at that marvel of Roman architecture, and feel awed.

But I didn’t feel awe.

I didn’t feel admiration.

I looked at that beautiful building, and laughed.

The emperor who commissioned the Pantheon – Emperor Hadrian – ordered the execution of one of our greatest sages, Rabbi Akiva.

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Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Snippets
“When I’m in Jerusalem during Independence Day, I…”

“When I’m in Jerusalem during Independence Day, I…”

Did you ever wonder how other people complete this sentence?

Well, this year we decided to find out, and asked different people to share their favorite Jerusalem-related Yom Haatzmaut activities/experiences/outings in Jerusalem. Some answers might surprise you, some might resonate with your own experiences, and some might give you ideas for next year!

Happy Independence Day!

***

“When I’m in Jerusalem on Independence Day I am full of gratitude and humility to be living the dream that countless women, men, and children prayed with tears, hope and faith would one day come true.”

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Posted by Rachel Sharansky Danziger in Images, Snippets, Videos

Where even the dogs celebrate

Silwani was found in a trashcan in the Arab village of Silwan. Now he is a proud Yerushalmi and a Zionist to boot!

Posted by Molly Livingstone in Images

Ready to celebrate?

Aroma is always ready for every occasion with themed chocolate.

Posted by Devora Mason in Images
To Truly Belong?

To Truly Belong?

I don’t really like crowds. I hate the sense of conformity they inspire, that everyone there is alike and will respond to a spectacle in the same way, undifferentiated.

At the end of Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day last April, I wanted to get to Jerusalem’s First Train station where there was a public ritual to mark the time in between day devoted to the memorial day both for soldiers and for those killed by acts of terrorism, and Israel’s Independence Day. The transition from sorrow to joy can be a difficult and awkward one, to spend a day remembering lives lost and not lived fully and comforting the families of those in mourning, and then at the end of that day to rejoice publicly with dances and parades that there is a Jewish state.

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Posted by Beth Kissileff in Essays
Flagging Memories: From Respect to Revelry

Flagging Memories: From Respect to Revelry

When I was a little girl growing up in the United States, American flags would be displayed proudly on Flag Day and Independence Day. Older people even had them flying on their homes on Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day. And, of course, there were people who flew the American flag all the time — some taking it down at night, and all being reverently careful to keep the flag from touching the ground.

Times changed. Fewer homes flew flags. Fewer people knew it was Flag Day or Memorial Day. It was hard to completely forget Veterans’ Day, because invariably there would be some old fellow with watery eyes shining with an old doughboy toughness from beneath his military cap, his jacket covered with medals of heroic campaigns forgotten. Red poppies used to be given out by the veterans, and flags were posted at the graves of war dead. Veterans’ Day was in November, Memorial Day was in May. The seemingly unrelated Fourth of July was easy to remember, because it was a day of sales and fireworks and barbecues with the neighbors. There might still even be parades…

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Posted by Ruti Eastman in Essays

Israel at 69: Memorial Turns to Celebration

Photo: © Judy Lash Balint. All rights reserved

Towards the close of Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen, the heavy mood slowly begins to lift as Israelis emerge from the somber day to celebrate Israel’s birthday.

As night falls, bringing relief from the pain of remembrance, hundreds of Jerusalemites dressed in blue and white stream into synagogues all over the city for special prayers of thanksgiving in honor of Independence Day.

The close of the brief prayer service is the ancient call, “Next year in a rebuilt Jerusalem,” followed by a prayer of gratitude for living in the period of the beginning of the redemption and a joyful rendition of the “Shir Hama’alot” a psalm sung to the tune of “Hatikvah,” the Israeli national anthem.

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Posted by Judy Lash Balint in Essays