Yom Ha’atzmaut Day – suggestions

When significant resources are not at our fingertips, when the top cool Israeli band is not available for a free performance, how can we nevertheless ensure that our community’s Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration is a meaningful success? These suggestions have you in mind.

What are we aiming for?

  • A celebration that is multi-vocal
  • A celebration that embraces the theme of Am Chofshi B’Artzenu
  • A celebration that incorporates ritual, reflection, and rejoicing
  • A celebration that is cross-community and cross-generational
  • A celebration that represents a culmination, an exciting expression of long-term processes
  • A celebration of Israel that gives voice to local perspectives

We suggest the day includes a selection of the following “culmination events”

  1. The final of the Israel Quiz
  2. The performance of the Community Play
  3. Shira b’Tzibbur
  4. The final of the Battle of the Bands contest
  5. A flash mob…
  6. Prayer for the State of Israel
  7. Hatikvah
  8. Food…!

1. The final of the Israel Quiz

Organised similar to a Spelling Bee, but the quiz is according to a list of facts about Israel, that the congregation/school will create. All ages are given the little booklet of facts, and conduct a series of competitions, the final of which will be on Yom Ha’atzmaut. For instructions on how to create your own Israel Quiz, click here.

2. The performance of the Community Play

Oral History project interviewing locals who lived through the 1945-1948 period. Transcripts are transformed into a theatre script. Rehearsals lead up to the opening performance of the show on Yom Ha’atzmaut. The cast is made up of kids and adults in the community. Here is a useful check-list for the producer. If you would like help, contact robbieg [at] jafi [dot] org, for a list of playwrights in your area whose expertise is in writing such kinds of plays.

3. Shira b’Tzibbur

A selection of 15 modern content-full songs are taught throughout the congregation in the months leading up to Yom Ha’atzmaut. Everyone is taught not only how to sing the songs, but also about their context, content, etc. Songleaders are trained up, and the Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration day culminates with a big shira b’tzibbur. For advice on the choice of songs, contact robbieg [at] jafi [dot] org

4. The final of the Battle of the Bands contest

Bands are invited to perform 3 songs that address Am, Chofshi, B’Artzenu – they can write their own songs, or revamp old songs. The heats take place in the weeks leading up to Yom Ha’atzmaut, and the final performances of the bands take place at the Yom Ha’atzmaut event itself.

5. A flash mob…

Prepared for weeks in advance… bursting out in the middle of the barbecue..?

6. Prayer for the State of Israel

After adult study sessions about the prayer, and school exercises in writing their own prayer for the State, all recite the prayer in Hebrew and in English. (Could be the traditional prayer, and/or the best locally-written one)

7. Hatikvah

All have studied the history and deep meaning of the song in the months leading up to the celebrations. All rise and sing together.

8. Food

There’s got to be a mass barbecue, no?

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