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April 28, 1989 - Image 143

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-04-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

t- )60 Special Activities Surround Yom Ha'atzma'ut

By LINDA SHAFIR

Since the state of Israel was
born in pain, anguish and blood the
joy and festivity of Yom Ha'atzma'ut
are intermingled with the solemnity
of Yom Hazikaron, the Day of
Remembrance for Isrel's fallen
soldiers. Yom Hazikaron precedes
Yom Ha'atzma'ut (Independence
Day). On this day the whole country
remembers and honors its war
dead. It begins on the eve of the
previous day and the entire evening
is devoted to special programs,
suitable in content and atmosphere
for the day. All places of
entertainment are closed.
The evening begins with a one-
minute siren and the lighting of
memorial candles by the president
of Israel at the Western Wall.
On the following morning, a
two-minute silence is observed
throughout the country, ushered in
by the sound of a siren. All public
life stops for two minutes, schools
have special hours dedicaed to this
day. In the military cemeteries
memorial services are held, and
simiar memorial services and
ceremonies are held on military
bases and at monuments all over
the country. Fresh flowers and
wreaths are placed on the graves
and monuments of the young
heroes who gave their lives for
Israel.
The flags are at half mast, and
every single person all over the
country experiences a deep feeling
of mourning, a mourning that is so
personal because the Israel army is

Fresh flowers and
wreaths are placed on
the graves and
monuments of the young
heroes who gave their
lives for Israel.

an army of the people and all
people are part of the army. The
majority of the population
participates in the army's special
cermonies in the military
cemeteries.
The day ends with the sound of
the siren reverberating throughout
the whole country and this also
signifies the beginning of Yom
Ha'atzma'ut celebration, with its joy
and merry-making. After the siren, a
ceremony takes place on the Har
Herzl at Herzl's grave. This is the
ceremony of lighting 12 torches that

Linda Shafir is an Israeli attorney
and colonel in the Israeli army.

signify the Twelve Tribes of Israel.
The ceremony kicks off the country-
wide Yom Ha'atzma'ut festivities.

This mourning and sadness
and joy and celebration have been
intermingled since the birth of the
State of Israel. In the evening, with
the end of Remembrance Day, it
seems as if the whole country starts
to celebrate the festival in a very
joyful and festive manner. The
celebration includes different
entertainment programs and special
events programs and this continues
until the next evening.
The carnival atmosphere
prevails everywhere with singing
and dancing to music, flag-draped,
flower-decked and decorated
buildings, streets and squares. Folk
dances are performed on raised
platforms and in the intervals the
people break into spontaneous
horas.
Many families have parties
together with friends and the events
continue until the wee hours of the
night and include evening bonfires.
For many years one of the main
events was the great military parade
and there are special programs and
tours to military bases because of
the importance of Zahal, the Israel
Defense Forces, which is
considered the people's army.
An annual Bible Quiz for youth
is held in the morning for youth
from all over the world. In the
evening the prestigious Israel Prize
for outstanding achievements in all

fields of cultural endeavors is
awarded in an impressive ceremony
in Jerusalem which the president of
Israel attends.

Thousands of Israelis make this
day the occasion of an outing. The
picnic areas and the woods are
filled with people of all ages. There
are picnics for fighters of all wars
and their families, and tours along
routes of famous battles. This is the
sincere expression of the joy at

having an independent Jewish state.
You don't have to plan how to
celebrate; you don't need company.
You can just follow one of the tours
or go and be swept away by the
celebrating crowd.
Those are two days on which
you feel the huge obligation and
responsibility of the challenge of
living in Israel and participating in
all that is required and demanded of
you, in addition to the pride you feel
in belonging to this country.

Israel Family 'Dip Offered

Washington, D.C. — The B'nai
B'rith Israel Commission reports
that applications for the summer
1989 LEVI (Living Experience
Vacation in Israel) program are now
being accepted.
LEVI, designed and
administered by the B'nai B'rith
Israel Commission in cooperation
with the World Zionist Organization,
has developed into a special
summer program in Israel for adults
together with their children.
At the core of the program is
the opportunity to be a part of
Israeli life. While young children
play and make new friends at day
camp, parents and teenagers will
choose to fill their mornings with
volunteeer work in a local hospital,
archeological dig, park or other
facility. Following lunch, afternoons
will be spent broadening knowledge:
learning Hebrew and studying

Jewish and Israeli history.
Sightseeing and exploring the
land also are included. The
vacationers will take guided tours of
the country, covering the Galilee,
Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Masada, the
Dead Sea and the Golan Heights.
LEVI participants will leave New
York on July 13 and return Aug. 6,
with an option to extend. The cost is
$1,750 (U.S.) per person 12 years
old or older, and $1,500 for each
child under 12. The cost includes:
roundtrip airfare (from New York), all
meals, lodging, tours and other
program expenses.
Families with children entering
grades one through 12 may apply.
At least one parent must be a
member of B'nai B'rith, or join prior
to departure.
For a registration form or
information, contact B'nai B'rith,
552-8177.

THE DETROIT JEWISH NEWS

L-3

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