Yom HaAtzmaut — Israel’s 75th Anniversary

This month of Iyar is also filled with other special days. Today is Yom HaAtzmaut, the State of Israel’s 75th anniversary. This year we are experiencing greater divisions amongst our people. Many Jewish communities, given the struggles over the past several months between anti-democratic forces and those who are fighting for human rights and democratic institutions, are at odds as to how to celebrate this year.

The prophet Amos in this week’s Haftarah warns the people about how they will be scattered as the result of unrighteous acts and the desecration of the Covenant. He also envisions a return to the Land based upon just and compassionate living.

We’re reminded this week of the words from Israel’s Declaration of Independence:

THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

…and the words of the Hebrew poet, Shaul Tzchernikovky, composed in 1894 in Odessa:

Freedom still my soul demands,

Unbartered for a calf of gold.

For still I do believe in man,

And in his spirit, strong and bold.

And in the future, I still believe,

Though it be distant, come it will

When nations shall each other bless,

And peace at last the earth shall fill.

L’Shalom,   Reb David

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