May – A Month of Memories and Celebration

May – A Month of Memories and Celebration

May is a busy month, in Israel and also for me here at Agudas. In between Yom Hashoah (the national day commemorating the Holocaust), Yom Hazikaron (our national memorial day) and Yom Ha’atzmaut (our national Independence Day), there is a lot going on!

Yom Hashoah is very important in my family. I grew up hearing the stories of my grandmother, who survived the Nazi siege on St. Petersburg (Back when it was called Leningrad). Like so many Jewish families in Israel and around the world, this day is not just a national commemoration – in our family, it’s a personal one. The same is true for Amir – his grandmother was a Holocaust survivor who lost both her parents. We use this day to remember and reflect on the personal stories of our loved ones as well as the story of the entire Jewish people.

Yom Hazikaron is a day like no other in Israel. Last year I sent the members of our community an email explaining the reasons why Israel’s founders decided to hold this day of national mourning and remembrance, 24 hours before Yom Ha’atzmaut, which is the exact opposite – a day of celebration. This decision reflects the Israeli determination to remember, but also to continue living and grow stronger.

I would like to share with you an opportunity to watch an actual Yom HaZikaron Ceremony in Israel, that is being held by Masa. This ceremony is entirely in English and is live streamed on Facebook so that you can watch it anywhere you are. The idea is to bring Yom HaZikaron to Jewish communities outside of Israel. The ceremony is 1:00-2:30 PM EST (8:00-9:30 PM Israel Time). The beauty of this is that you can get to participate in the moment of silence as the siren sounds across Israel. It is a powerful moment that shows that although we are thousands of miles away, we are still one nation.

This year at Agudas Achim we will do an event for Yom Haatzmaut, which will resemble Israeli independence celebrations. There will be a “shuk” (market) with cool things and free giveaways; Israeli food; and a sing-along led by our Hazzan as well as a JTS cantorial student, Eliana Kissner. Trust me, you don’t want to miss this one! See you on May 9 at 6:30 pm.