From Commemoration to Celebration

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By Dan Rozett, Manager, Community & Israel Engagement

Tonight, is the beginning of the end to a very emotional 2 weeks for the Jewish people. 

After commemorating Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, last week, Yom Hazikaron, Israeli Memorial Day, started last night and Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, starts at sundown tonight through tomorrow with celebrations. 

If you are reading this at posting time, it is still officially Yom Hazikaron in the United States and we continue to mourn 23,741 soldiers and 4,159 civilians who lost their lives in war and terror attacks. 

I think of Uri Friedman and Avi Book, two brave men, who I did not know, BUT never forgot since casually exchanging words days and hours before they lost their lives in the war against Hizballah, in Southern Lebanon. 

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Pictured: Uri Friedman and Avi Book


It could have been me that day. It could have been any of us. 

Or Rabbi Nechamia Lavi, who served by my side for almost two years in the 1990’s, murdered two decades later by a Palestinian terrorist, in Jerusalem, while rushing to the aid of an already wounded civilian. 

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Pictured: Rabbi Nechamia Lavi


Unfortunately, this is our reality, yet despite the unbearable losses, we overcome. 

Let me be clear: The State of Israel is a symbol of our triumph over all who want to destroy us. 

When the Yom Kippur War broke out in 1973, Naomi Shemer wrote “Lu Yehi” (“May It Be”) expressing the feelings of both the battlefront and the home front. 

She wrote the following:
“In a small, shaded neighborhood,
A modest house with a red roof,
All that we ask for, let it be,
It's the end of summer, the end of the journey,
Let them return home,
All that we ask for, let it be
And if suddenly from the dark should shine,
The light of a star on our faces,
All that we ask for, let it be,
Give peace and also strength,
To all those we love,
All that we ask for, let it be
Let it be, let it be,
Please - let it be,
All that we ask for, let it be”

And thankfully, our prayers were answered, and Israel survived, but at a terrible cost. 

So here we are, 2019, and Israel, relative to her size, is a superpower. 

A leader in hi-tech, medicine, agriculture and more. Just a short while ago we “kinda” made it to the moon. “Kinda.” 

We have A LOT to be proud of and a lot to celebrate! 

My job as the Israel Engagement Coordinator at Jewish Federation is to make sure this community feels proud of and connected to Israel - one of many ways to preserve the Jewish future - a priority for me personally and for the organization I proudly work for. 

At sundown tonight, we will officially transition to celebration as Yom Hazikaron ends and Yom Ha’atzmaut begins. 
Be proud of YOUR Israel, OUR Israel. CELEBRATE and REJOICE! 

Happy Independence Day! 
Long live the State of Israel!  
Am Yisrael Chai. 

 

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