Monday, May 9, 2011

Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut

Yesterday and today are two “Jewish” holidays. I only put Jewish in quotes because the existence of the state of Israel is a hotly debated topic within Jewish groups.

So yesterday was Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day. Someone in particular was on my mind: Elad ben Kochava. I went on a Birthright trip to Israel last summer, and we accidentally stumbled across the funeral of a young Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) soldier, Elad ben Kochava. Kochava is a relatively unusual name, so I was very struck by the mother of this soldier sharing my Hebrew name. The funeral was a very emotional experience, even for this normally even-keeled girl. But on the other hand, there was a beauty in hundreds of people grieving as one family. I’ll never forget that day.

A person in our group summed up the experience well: “I never thought I could grieve for someone I didn’t know.” I think that’s how I will always think of Yom HaZikaron.

And today is Yom HaAtzmaut, which is Israeli Independence Day. As is so often true of the Jewish people, sadness and joy intertwine.


  1. Just wanted to point out that this year Yom HaZikaron is today Monday and Tomorrow Tuesday is Yom HaAtzmaut
    when Yom HaZikaron would fall out on a Sunday it is pushed to Monday so that the ceremony on the Eve of Yom Hazikaron would not be on Saturday night so no one would desecrate the Shabbat to prepare for the ceremony.

  2. Hahaha, we're both right! I was thinking about when the days started, while you are focusing on the "day" portion. I should have been more precise and said "last night" and "tonight" instead of "yesterday" and "today."

  3. I must take exception to your comment 'the existence of the state of Israel is a hotly debated topic within Jewish groups.'

    If something exists it is not really up for debate by definition. I know that you mean that some groups do not accept the fact that there is a state run by Jewish people. This group consists of a very, very small minority of Jews. The vast majority of Orthodox Jews and even Chassidic Jews accept and even embrace the fact of the state of Israel. A few noisy, crazy Satmar chassidim do not represent the Jewish people, thank G-d.

    While I, as a Chassidic Jew, do not say Hallel on Yom Ha'atzmaut and do not attend any of the secular celebrations held in my city, I still recognise that the land of Israel is sacred to the Jewish people and celebrate the fact that we Jews now have a place that we can call home - no matter what country we live in.

    1. Most Chassidim do not accept the Zionist state with embrace. They acknowledge the fact that it exists, but view it as bad. And the loud, irritating people aren't Satmar. They're Neturei Karta, and in America, part of a particularly insane faction of Neturei Karta. So, until you are in the chareidi world and understand what we think and feel about things, please don't make claims as to what we believe about the state or anything else.

      Source: A chussid who doesn't celebrate any Zionist holidays. Or goyishe holidays.