Shalom Chaverim (Dear Friends),
Another April week is quickly rolling to conclusion. As the Simon & Garfunkel song goes “April, come she will”…
And she is indeed here. This week, we celebrate the important duo of Yom Ha’Zikaron (Day of Remembrance) & Yom Ha’Atzmaut( Day of Independence). Somewhat fascinatingly, many American Jews are not familiar with these two holidays, which are observed fastidiously in Israel.
The first, Yom Hazikaron, is observed on the 13th and 14th this year. It is one of the saddest days of the year in Israel, if not the saddest. It recognizes those who perished fighting for the survival of the modern day state of Israel. I once made the mistake of ordering a glass of wine with Israeli friends while visiting in Israel and I was taken by surprise at how that drink order was frowned upon. Clearly, they and the country, were in morning.
Equally unique to Israel, as soon as Yom Hazikaron ends, with the sound of the siren throughout the country on the evening of the 14th, the most joyous day of the year, Yom, Ha’Atzmaut, the Israeli Day of Independence, begins with barbeques and all sorts of festivities throughout the country. Israel’s Independence day occurred on the Gregorian calendar on May 14, 1948. I have been blessed to experience the stopping for the siren, twice road side, in Israel. It is really quite a emotional and meaningful thing to experience and witness. People literally stop their cars on the highway and get out for that moment of silence and then go back about their business.
This morning, I had the good fortune to start my day with 2 30 year olds with whom I shared a mission to Israel with just a couple of years ago. It was so great to catch up with them after this year plus of isolation due to the pandemic. What was even more amazing was that one of these friends committed to joining JFNA’s(Jewish fFederation of North America’s) National Young leadership Cabinet. A 5 year commitment for people ages 30-46, of at least a $5,000 contribution to Federation’s annual campaign, as well as a series of participatory events and activities. The second friend is seriously considering joining as well.
This week’s double Torah portion is Tazria (Giving Birth) and Metzora (The Leper) as the conversation and discussion continues regarding ritual inpurity and purity. I find it interesting to make a comparison from the double Torah portion this week to the morning of those who sacrificed their lives for the Independence and continued freedom of the mdern day state of Israel. And in the purity and beauty that continues to emerge these 73 years later, so too does the purity and beauty emerge of the generosity, commitment and selflessness of our local Jewish community, as we now currently have 15 members on the National Young Leadership cabinet with potentially these two new prospects waiting in the wings. Ours is the largest cohort of any Federation our size in the 146 Federation of North America system. I’m quite proud of that and I hope you too share in that pride.
Light candles Friday evening at 6:42pm
Shabbat ends Saturday evening at 7:39pm
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