Yom Ha’zikaron | Yom Ha’atzmaut
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
Monday, April 16 through June 15 | During community house opening hours | BJ Community House
Over the past two summers, photographer Saskia Bory Keeley partnered with Roots, an initiative now in its fourth year led by a Palestinian and Israeli settler committee who works at the heart of the conflict in the West Bank. Keeley conducted photo workshops exclusively for women who would otherwise have no contact with each other. Developing photographic skills was an important aspect of the program and just as essential was the opportunity for women “from the other side” to interact in a safe setting–many for the very first time in their lives.
The photos presented in this exhibit are a sample of selected works created by these talented women, providing us with an insight into their own world, their home and family, and their view of the conflict.
Sunday, April 15 | 10:00AM-9:00PM | Symphony Space, 2537 Broadway
Celebrate Israel’s 70th with an array of programs for all ages, including:
- Keynote speaker Dennis Ross
- Shows for kids
- A street fair on 94th street featuring Israeli artists, live music, activities for kids, and kosher food trucks
- Performances by Israeli group Yemen Blues
- Wine tasting and food demonstrations
- Ongoing speakers and lectures throughout the day
Wednesday, April 18 | 7:00-9:00PM | BJ Sanctuary
Join us for our traditional Yom Ha’atzmaut ceremony, marking the transition between Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Remembrance Day, and Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. The first part of the ceremony will explore the evolution of Yom Hazikaron and how collective memory has been shaped in Israel over the past 70 years. Then we will move on to a festive reading of selected paragraphs of Israel’s Declaration of Independence, with local and Israeli leaders giving sermons on these readings. After the ceremony, we invite you to commemorate this special time with us through song, conversation, learning, food, and more!
Sunday, April 22 | 2:00-3:30PM | BJ Community House
Who’s got the biggest birthday coming up? Israel, that’s who! Come down to BJ for a huge party filled with over-sized games, food, and gigantic fun. We are excited to see you there!
Sunday, April 22 | 2:00-6:00PM | BJ Community House 3rd Floor
Experience a trip around Israel on its 70th birthday through dance. Celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut with the best of the classic Israeli folk dances. All are welcome to join in the dancing. Request your favorites. You also will have the opportunity to experience prominent Israeli folk dance choreographers, leaders and musicians (TBA).
Sunday, April 22 | 7:00-8:30PM | BJ Community House
BJ and The Midrasha in Manhattan invite you to join brothers and rabbis Amichai and Benny Lau, of New York City and Jerusalem respectively, who will sit together to speak about rabbinic power, its role in the past, and in modern times. They will each speak to their unique working experiences and to their belonging to a longstanding rabbinic dynasty.
Saturday, April 28 | Following Shabbat Morning services | BJ Community House
Seventy years have passed since the founders of Israel declared that the State of Israel “will be based on freedom, justice, and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel.” But has the Jewish State lived up to this goal? And what means are needed in order to get there? How can a young state facing so many challenges fulfill the Utopian vision of the prophets of Israel, if at all? Join Rabbi Tamir Nir, head of the BINA Secular Yeshiva in Tel Aviv, as he explores these questions, examining contemporary issues in Israeli society through the lens of classic and modern Jewish texts.