Israel: Memory and Dreams (Part 2)

Israel: Memory and Dreams (Part 2)

Apr 17, 2013 By Samuel Barth | Commentary | Yom Hazikaron-Yom Ha'atzma'ut

Following the transition from the pain-filled memories of Yom Hazikkaron (State of Israel Memorial Day) to Yom Ha’atzma’ut (State of Israel Independence Day), it is fitting to look closely at the prayer recited in so many synagogues (of all denominations) around the world: Tefillah l’Shalom HaMedinah (the Prayer for the State of Israel). There is a “legend” that the text was composed by Israeli Nobel laureate Shmuel Yosef Agnon, but in fact the text was composed by Israel’s Chief Rabbi Yitzhak HaLevi Herzog (1936–1949), and a critically important phrase was added by Agnon in a handwritten note.

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Israel: Memory and Dreams (Part 1)

Israel: Memory and Dreams (Part 1)

Apr 10, 2013 By Samuel Barth | Commentary | Yom Hazikaron-Yom Ha'atzma'ut

Yom Ha’atzma’ut, State of Israel Independence Day, is observed on Tuesday, April 16. It is not only a political and national celebration for the citizens of Israel and their supporters around the world, it is also a festival of the Jewish calendar. The Psalms of Hallel are recited, there is a special Torah reading, and there is an additional paragraph in the ‘Amidah of the Conservative Movement, in a style similar to Hanukkah and Purim (see the Rabbinical Assembly’s Siddur Sim Shalom for Weekdays, 42, 50, 343). So this day is not simply the Israeli equivalent of July 4—it is rooted, as is the State of Israel, in the ancient Jewish dream for the perfection of the world.

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