In Jewish tradition, we pause for a solemn moment before celebrating. We break a glass at a wedding, we remember being slaves in Egypt before entering Shabbat — and this week, we paused to remember the soldiers who have fallen on Yom HaZikaron as we prepare to joyfully celebrate Israel’s independence on Yom Ha’Atzmaut.
We observed both Israeli “Yoms” (days) in the cloud this week with our students. In rain (Wednesday) and shine (Tuesday), we gathered our community virtually around the Mirowitz flagpole for moments of silence, singing and dancing. Our students experienced one of the many gifts of a Jewish day school education: a connection with Israel.
Elementary students worked with Hebrew teachers on singing HaTikvah, making Israeli flags out of household objects, and trying some new Israeli dance moves.
But for the pandemic, our eighth graders would be in Israel for these holidays. Instead, they have a week of alternative programming. Each day, their enthusiastic teachers present them with new Israel-related challenges, and at the end of the day, the class comes together to share their creations. They have enjoyed mini-lessons exploring culture, history and peoplehood. On these two holidays, they learned about aerodynamics from aerospace engineer (and alumni parent) Dr. Bob Olshan, and the history of the air force from Oded Zahavi, a major in the Israeli air force. They heard a panel of Israelis share personal accounts about what their Israel identity means to them. They participated in a Global Israel Trivia Challenge and met up with our former B’not Sherut (Dassi, Ayelet, Yael, Doriya and Shani) on Zoom for a special activity.
We celebrated Israel this week with the same rhythm that we approach all aspects of Jewish life – by pausing to remember what it took to be a free people in our land, the land of Israel.
As you head into Shabbat, enjoy the Hebrew teachers’ quarantine rendition of a famous Israeli song about Blue and White. (Watch it here!) Mirowitz students know that blue and white aren’t just colors of the Israeli flag. They represent “hope and love, like the sky and the dove.” They are Israel.
Watch our Yom Hazikaron ceremony here.
Watch our Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration here.