Yom Ha’zikaron | Yom Ha’atzmaut

Israeli Flag

Yom Ha’zikaron (Memorial Day), which is observed on the 4th of Iyar, and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day), observed on the 5th of Iyar, is a time of extraordinary importance at BJ. As in Israel, our celebration of the birth of the State of Israel begins with time spent in contemplation of all of the lives lost in conflict since the founding of the state. In their honor, prior to the start of Yom Ha’atzmaut, we devote a moment of silence, and light a memorial candle.

Yom Ha’atzmaut is reserved as a day when we as a community celebrate the miracle that is the State of Israel. We affirm the central Jewish value of love of Israel, and take this time to recommit ourselves to supporting all of our sisters and brothers in Israel on their quest to forge a modern state that lives up to the grand aspirations of the Israeli Declaration of Independence. BJ offices are closed, hallel is added to the morning shacharit service, and our community comes together for celebratory and educational programs, song and dance.

Celebrating Yom Ha’zikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut

Celebrate Israel: Interactive Children's Performance

Sunday, April 30 | 11:30AM-12:30PM | 88th Street Sanctuary

Join MusicTalks for a fun filled Yom Ha’hatzmaut celebration with the delightful children’s book, Ella’s Trip to Israel. Come along as Ella discovers all of the most breathtaking sites, such as Jerusalem, the Kotel, The Dead Sea, and the Israeli Shuk. Her magical journey through Israel will be brought to life with a sing along of the best known Israeli tunes, as well as original music composed by the Israeli composer Or Matias and performed by a musical ensemble. Following the interactive performance, the participants will be invited to meet the musicians up close and learn about the different instruments at our one of a kind “musical instrument petting zoo.”

$5 per person, walk-ins welcome. Registration information to come. 

Israeli Folk Dancing for Yom Ha'atsmaut

Sunday, April 30 | 2:00-6:00PM | 89th Street Community House Gym

Celebrate Yom Ha’atsmaut with the best of Israeli folk dances. Our friendly dancers will help you learn the steps (though a little experience in Israeli folk dancing is helpful!). The program ends with a mix of circle, line, and partner dances, selected mostly by request.

This special event is brought to you by Rikuday Dor Rishon, an Upper West Side community-based group dedicated to preserving the classic folk dances of Israel. Light refreshments will be served.

$5 entrance fee. Registration information to come. 

Israeli Settlements: A Conversation With Israeli Consul General Dani Dayan

Sunday, April 30 | 3:00-4:30PM | 88th Street Sanctuary 

Fifty years after the Six-Day War, 400,000 Israelis are settled on the West Bank. Many consider settlements an impediment to peace, while others consider it a fulfillment of the Zionist vision. Join Israeli Consul General and former head of the Yesha Council, Mr. Dani Dayan, for a special presentation on the impact of the settlements on Israel’s society and future. Register here for this event.  Read more »

HEROES: The Untold Stories Of The Jewish-Ethiopian Aliyah

Sunday, April 30 | 5:00-6:15PM | 89th Street Community House 

Join us for a special screening of excerpts from the work-in-progress documentary, HEROES. This feature film explores the real-life heroes involved in the Jewish-Ethiopian aliyah to Israel. After the screening, there will be a Q&A featuring co-director Avishai Yeganyahu Mekonen and activists who were directly involved in the aliyah efforts. Visit the film’s webpage here. Registration information to come.

Read more »

Fifty Years Since 1967: An Evening of Ceremony and Reflection

Monday, May 1 | 7:00-9:30PM | 88th Street Sanctuary

Join us for our traditional Yom Hazikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day) and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day) ceremony, commemorating those who have lost their lives for the State of Israel. This year, the ceremony will focus on the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War and the unification of Jerusalem. After the ceremony, we will continue to explore topics central to this historical event, as well as the impact of the war on Israel’s relationship with its neighbors. Breakout sessions include a facilitated conversation with Resetting The Table, a discussion with our partners at Mechon Hadar, Shaare Tzedek, JTS, HUC, Culumbia Hillel, and Romemu. We will conclude the evening with a dessert reception and a sing along session in celebration of Yom Haatzmaut.

The Cultural Impact Of The Six-Day War

Sunday, May 14 | 5:00-6:30PM | 89th Street Community House 

The miraculous victory of the Six-Day War left a huge impact on local culture in the late 60s and early 70s. This musical presentation will feature classic songs from the post-war era, performed by our very own BJ musical ensemble. Moti Zeira, head of our partner organization HaMidrasha, will examine the impact of the war on Israeli music, the rise of military super-groups, and the subversive messages hidden within some of the all-time classics of that era.

This event is free for BJ members, but registration is required. Register here. Read more »

The Generational Divide: How Do Millennials View Israel in Light of 50 Years of Occupation?

Sunday, May 21 | 7:00-8:30PM | 89th Street Community House 

In the American Jewish community, young Jews are starting to pull away from Israel as their values and the actions of the state of Israel come into conflict. The Jewish youth in American are like youth all over the world: they are more liberal and less religious then their elder generations. In Israel, the situation is reversed: the youth are getting more right wing and religious than their elders. Why is this the case and what does this mean for both the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the relationship between American and Israeli Jews? Join Joel Braunold of ALLMEP and Yona Shem-Tov of Encounter in exploring these questions of generational divide.

Register here for this event.  Read more »