As I write this Kesher Quick message (and likely as you read it), we are in the final hours of Yom Hatzmayut, which is Israel’s Independence Day.
In Israel (hours ahead of us), this day is one that follows Yom HaZikaron, which is Israel’s Memorial Day for her fallen soldiers.
The two days are commemorated and celebrated (respectively) by the entire Jewish Israeli society, for they intimately understand that the lives of their fathers, sons, brothers, mothers, daughters and sisters were given in battle in order for their tiny Jewish country to exist. So that they, their children, and their grandchildren could live.
Yom HaZikaron comes with the annual national realization that they owe it to their dead (and just about every family has someone) to mourn them as a country… but then, with the setting sun separating the holidays, to celebrate all that now is possible.
What are our people celebrating with Yom Haztmayut?
It is more than just a national birthday (dianu).
It is more than having a safe haven for Jews in trouble from the Arab lands and Europe, South America and the FSU (dianu).
It is more than the realization that they are living in an age where Jews once again have their own country, and with it, control over their own destiny (dianu).
It is more than knowing that with a strong and vibrant Israel, they can live authentic Jewish lives…and by the fact of Israel’s very existence, so we too can live authentic Jewish lives here in Atlanta (dianu).
It is more than a return to the land that we pined for as a global people for 2,000 years, or that it is a fulfillment of biblical prophecy (dianu).
It is that with the recreation of the State of Israel in 1948, Jews once again have the chance to create, and build, and strive, and climb, and reach, and try, and love, and succeed…like our ancestors could have only dreamed.
Thedor Herzl, The father of modern Zionism, famously said, Im tirzu ayn zo agadah/ If you will it, then it is no dream.
I am proud of the modern state of Israel, with all of her complexities. I am so incredibly grateful that I, and we, live in this time that we do, as Jewish-Americans in the age of a dynamic Israel. And I am proud to be a part of Temple Emanu-El, an active Reform Zionist congregation.
Join us for Shabbat services Friday night as we celebrate Israel through music, prayer, story, and one another.
Chazak Chazak V’nitchazek/Be strong, be strong, and through one another be strengthened.