2018-04-11 / Editorial

Israel’s 70th anniversary is a milestone worth celebrating

Within two weeks of Passover, a festival that has been part of our tradition for thousands of years, we turn our attention to three modern events that connect our past, present and future.

On Apr. 11, South Jersey commemorates Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day, by honoring local survivors and recalling the six million Jews and five million other victims of this genocide. Local survivor Fred Kurz will be the keynote speaker at the 7 p.m. event at Temple Beth Sholom.

Within a week, Yom Hazikaron, Israel Memorial Day, Apr. 17, is followed by Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day, on April 18. Yom Hazikaron remembers those Israelis who have fallen in battle or in terrorist attacks. Towards the end of the day, the mood lifts as Israelis emerge to mark the nation’s 70th birthday.

Israel has stepped up revelries in this milestone year, with 70 hours of events. Starting with a ceremony at Mount Herzl, the largest fireworks display in the country’s history will be followed by an all-night beach party stretching “along 70 kilometers (some 43.5 miles) from Tiberias to Eilat,” according to Culture Minister Miri Regev. This will be followed the next day with a light parade honoring Israeli innovation, among other events. In the remaining hours, street parties will be held in homage to the spontaneous hora dances that erupted after David Ben Gurion declared the establishment of the state in 1948. Festivities end with public Shabbat services.

Southern New Jersey will host its own Israel 70 celebration on Sunday, Apr. 22 (See Page 1 of this issue for details). The entire community is invited to join in on the vibrant celebration that will bring to life the streets of Jerusalem and Israeli culture with a parade, vendors, food and entertainment.

For Jews in South Jersey and worldwide, joining with Israelis in celebrating these modern commemorations is a concrete link in the Jewish connection to the land of Israel. The existence of the modern state of Israel is precious. Seventy years after the realization of the ages old dream of a sovereign Jewish nation, it is truly worth celebrating. 

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