This week we celebrate two very big days for Israel, Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day) and Yom Ha’Zicaron (Israeli Remembrance Day – think Memorial Day and Veterans day rolled together, and actually celebrated), and by we, I mean Jewish communities worldwide.
I teach in my synagogue’s religious school, and this morning we had a party for Yom Ha’Atzmaut. I attempted to prep my students by discussing Israel in a positive light. Reading a story about a boy who dreamed of planting trees in Israel after learning about a relative who was one of the early Zionists. Showing photos of Israel and reading about the sights. Having students who had visited the country or had heard stories from their parents who had visited, and in one case gotten engaged, in Israel share the stories and experiences. Yet none of this seemed to really drive home any message. While they really enjoyed singing and eating cake, and the extra Israeli snacks I had brought in – the point of it being from Israel seemed lost on so many of them. Half of them even drew five pointed stars on their Israeli flags, even though my aid and I corrected them and I had an Israeli flag hanging in the front of the room.
So my question for you faithful readers, is in this time of celebration and commemoration – how do you connect your daily life, to that of those in Israel? How can we impart the beauty and value of this country on those who have not yet had a chance to visit or intellectually comprehend the importance of having a Jewish state?