These and Those

Musings from Students of the Pardes Institute of Jewish Studies in Jerusalem

Modern Days

Posted on May 18, 2011 by Shibley

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The time between Pesach and Shavuot is marked in Israel with four modern holidays. Yom Hashoa, Yom Hazikaron, Yom Haatzmaut, and Yom Yerushalayim. Colloquially, this time of year is called y’mei yamim. The days of days. It has been an incredible experience to watch Israel move from Pesach into these modern celebrations. Israeli flags adorn backpacks, balconies, cars, restaurants, hotels, public buildings, private buildings, and Facebook pages.

Israel has a knack for marking events that are significant in Jewish religious history, and in the modern history of the State. For example, streets are named after important dates and historical figures, from antiquity to modernity. In modernity, the days listed above all recall a watershed event. On both yom Hashoa and yom Hazikaron (twice), the siren is sounded and the country comes to a complete stand-still in order to remember. The chronology of these days is not by accident, culminating in the euphoric celebrations of independence and the realization of a 2000 year dream.

As I was around town Monday night, and again on Tuesday, I couldn’t help but feel an incredible sense of hope. For a day, all of Israel’s problems, internal and external, melted away. None of it mattered. People were genuinely happy and thankful that Israel is surviving as a vibrant and independent Jewish State.