Israel Turns 70
I was born on Israel’s 22nd Independence Day (Yom HaAtzmaut) and to this date my family still celebrates my birthday on this day and not on its common calendar date. To celebrate this special day Israelis used to decorate their streets and balconies with colorful lights weeks ahead, and even though I knew it had nothing to do with my own birthday I kept telling everyone that it is all done for me. The main reason for the annual excitement and celebratory spirit is that even after all these years of Israel’s existence, most people still see it as a miracle.
This April, Israel will turn 70. Reflecting on those years I, too, still see its birth, existence and tremendous success as a miracle. Not a miracle that replaces intellect, hard work and grit, but a miracle that takes all these components and elevates them into something extraordinary.
At TBA we will be celebrating the occasion in the following months through a variety of intellectual, cultural, and spiritual activities under the umbrella of “Israel at 70 Series”.
- The History of Modern Israel: 1948-2018. (March 6, 13, and 20) Last year I taught a class that focused on the Zionist movement in the years that lead to Israel’s independence. This year we will pick it up again as we follow Israel’s path after the Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948.
- The Story of the Ethiopians in Israel. (March 10) Israel’s population growth is a consequence of waves of immigration from all over the world. Most of the first Jews arrived from Eastern Europe, but after the Arab states failed to annihilate Israel in the war of 1948 they expelled their remaining Jewish population. (Before 1948 there were 850,000 Jews in Arab countries, today there are less than 8,000.) One of the last groups to arrive to Israel were the Jews from Ethiopia. In March we will host Nofar Getanech Desta and Susan Weijel, who will tell us the story of this remarkable community and about Yemin Orde Youth Village, which is instrumental in helping many young immigrants to emerge into the next generation of leaders.
- Israeli Movies. For those of you who would like to get to know Israel better, we will do so through its growing movie industry.
- Israel Festival. (April 15) A day celebrating Israel, its history and culture in honor of its 70th year of independence- as close as you can get to travelling to Israel without actually hopping on a plane! There will be many stations allowing visitors to experience the unique features and communities present in Israel (these include a sandy area with beach chairs, matkot (beach paddle ball), popsicles, and backgammon for people to experience the Tel Aviv beach; a miniature western wall people can put notes into that we will send to Israel in June, a spice tasting station shuk, an artisan market, to represent Jerusalem, etc.).
- Yom HaAtzmaut on the Beach. (April 20) As we have been doing in the past 12 years, we will have our Friday Night Service at the beach at Marcinski Road and A1A followed by an Israeli dinner at the Anita Lankler Pavillion.
- Israel Trip. A congregational trip to Israel, June 2018 – SOLD OUT! (Stay tuned for our next trip’s dates and details.)