Eight Days of Remembrance
– from sorrow to redemption

What is called the Israeli High Holidays starts with commemorating the losses of the Jewish people and ends with a celebration and giving of thanks.

Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) began the evening of April 20. It commemorates the acts of violence against our fellow Jews in WWII, specifically the murder of our brothers and sisters and other innocents by Nazis and their collaborators. Many of us have family who died at the hands of the Nazis.

A week later, we observe Yom HaZikaron, a day to remember all those who died defending our homeland in Israel from other aggressors. We remember the sacrifice of both soldiers and civilians who died at the hands of terrorists or in battle. The full name of the day is Yom HaZikaron LeHalalei Ma’arakhot Yisrael ul’Nifge’ei Pe’ulot HaEivah (יוֹם הזִּכָּרוֹן לַחֲלָלֵי מַעֲרָכוֹת יִשְׂרָאֵל וּלְנִפְגְעֵי פְּעוּלוֹת הָאֵיבָה), the Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers of Israel and Victims of Terrorism. Many of us have friends and relatives who were murdered for the sake of our name.

Yet we are directed to leave our grief behind starting the evening of April 28 as we celebrate the miracle of the modern Jewish State of Israel. In normal times we would dance the hora, hear Israeli folk music, light bonfires, and celebrate throughout the streets. This year will be different due to COVID-19. Here in Santa Rosa, we needed to postpone our scholar in residence talks on Jewish Identity. Instead, let us turn to our computers and watch at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxzR9Z-kG6Q  a celebration from two years ago and sing along with the prayer to protect our children and this land from the hatred all around us.

Here are some ideas from the Reform movement:

  • Prepare a special meal to celebrate the holiday. Find an Israeli recipe that appeals to you and give it a try!
  • Change your Facebook profile picture to the Israeli flag or wish Israel a happy birthday on social media to share your love of the Jewish homeland.
  • Do a Yom HaAtzmaut craft project with your children. Options include creating easy tear flags, pretty painted planters, or celebratory pinwheels.

Here is a brief video telling more about Yom HaAtzmaut.