By: Sara Reinberg (10th Grade)
On Thursday April 15th, students arrived at school anticipating the annual Yom Haatzmaut celebrations that commemorate Israel’s Independence. This year for Israel’s 73rd Independence Day, students celebrated a little differently with a half-day program dedicated to learning about Israel and experiencing the things that make it unique,
In the morning, students were greeted by their teachers with special t-shirts and masks decorated with the Magen David and the 73 logo. To keep in line with social distancing, the school split into two Minyanim, both including Ruach-filled prayers and Hallel.
“It was really nice to see everybody putting forth some energy into singing, coming together, and recognizing the Jewish spirit and Jewish pride," said Rabbi Manne who headed one of the Minyanim. "We had a really nice Davening with Josh with lots of singing and beautiful energy."
Following davening, students were divided by grade and attended four different activities to commemorate Israel. These consisted of a speech about the Israeli election system, a competitive game of jeopardy filled with Israeli trivia, a presentation and debate given by students in AIPAC, and a pita-making station to cook and enjoy the cultural food.
“The whole morning was really fun, and my favorite activity was making Pita on the patio because it was delicious and really inclusive with everybody,” said Ariela Sragowicz (10th Grade).
After a school-sponsored lunch from Lenny's, students were surprised with a parade of law enforcement waving the Israeli flag and blasting their sirens. Afterwards, many crossed over to the elementary side to celebrate with music and mosh pitting.
“I think the dancing and mosh pits were the most fun we had all year. Last year we were supposed to be in Israel for Yom Haatzmaut, so it was nice to bring back that spirit that Covid took away from us,” said Yakira Wolfson (11th).
Typically, Yom Haazmaut is celebrated at the Hebrew Academy with fire works and a big ceremony at night. This year with Covid restrictions, this event was not possible. However, the Hebrew Department and the Administration worked to still find a way to celebrate this special day.
“This year was definitely harder because we couldn't do the evening ceremony that we usually do in the auditorium, invite speakers into the school, do the night event with fireworks, and a lot of interaction. So we tried to work around this limitation and we were able to do something for the students that was meaningful but at the same time fun,” said Head of the Hebrew Department Morah Kravetz.
Although classes resumed for the second half of the day, the warm Yom Haazmaut atmosphere remained. With the senior class ending classes next Wednesday, this day also served as a fun final hurrah celebrating Israel.
"Yom Haazmaut was really fun," said Ella Zaret (12th). "I really enjoyed everything the school did to make this day super fun. It's a great way to end my school year."