The “Yoms”

by Arliene Botnick, April 1, 2015

Being acknowledged during the next month or so are some very significant and modern days of both celebration and remembrance. These “yoms” are days on which we are reminded of our losses (Yom HaZikaron & Yom Ha Shoah), the reunification of Jerusalem (Yom Yerushalayim) and our ongoing ties to our homeland (Yom Haatzmaut). Although in North America, these days (except for Yom HaShoah) are minimally acknowledged, in Israel, they are major events.

Yom HaShoah – the day we remember the Shoah – is on the 27th of Nisan. (We will be having our Service on Friday, April 17th at 8:00 pm with our guest presenter, Dr. Michael Zajdman). The 27th Nisan was chosen as the date to commemorate the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising – which really began at the beginning of Pesach, 1942. The full name of the day is actually Yom HaShoah v’Hage-vurah – remembering both the tragedy and the heroism as we recall the efforts made by the Warsaw Ghetto captives as they valiantly stood up in armed resistance against the Nazi guards. In Israel, a 2 minute siren is sounded and Israel comes to a complete halt – cars are stopped on every road, drivers stand beside their vehicles. Israel is silent as all remember the 6 million.

Yom HaZikaron – acknowledged on the 4th of Iyar (April 22) is Israeli Memorial Day. Before we can celebrate on the 5th of Iyar (Israel Independence Day – Yom Haatzmaut) we must remember on the 4th all those who gave their lives in order for Israel to become and remain state. Once again, on Yom HaZikaron in Israel, there are 2 minute sirens sounded and once again Israel is silent. The following day, 5 Iyar, is Israel’s Independence (and we’ll be celebrating at Solel, Israel’s 67th birthday on Thurs. April 23rd at 6:45 pm.

In Israel, the solemnity of Yom HaZikaron morphs into a day of joy and celebration, parties, barbeques and outdoor concerts as we rejoice in the dream fulfilled; we have a Jewish State.

The final Yom – Yom Yerushalayim – is celebrated on the 28 Iyar (17 May). The last of the series of national holidays in Israel, commemorates the reunification of Jerusalem after the 6 day war (1967). This “Yom” has created some discomfort in many circles because some have seen it as “triumphalist nationalism”. But for many, having taken back the Old city and the right to visit freely the Western Wall, is a time to celebrate.

Wherever one stands politically or emotion-ally, these 4 “Yoms” are significant; their recognition is important and ultimately what should be their message as aptly summed up in one of our closing Siddur prayers,

Sim Shalom

“Grant us peace, your most precious gift, O God, and give us the will to proclaim its mes-sage to all the peoples of the earth.”

Filed under: Educator's Message

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