Israel is in the midst of a season of commemoration and celebration, but perhaps none bigger than the anticipation of their 70th birthday!
The “feast season” began with Passover, Feast of Unleavened Bread and Feast of First Fruits, all during the first week of April. That was followed by Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day) last Thursday (April 12).
Today (April 18), sirens have again sounded, signaling moments of stillness and silence to honor their fallen soldiers. It is Yom HaZikaron, similar to Memorial Day in the US. (See yesterday’s post for more information about Yom HaZikaron.) But, beginning at sundown tonight and extending through tomorrow, they will celebrate their independence day (Yom HaAzma’ut)! (Remember, a day on the Jewish calendar begins at sundown the previous evening!)
“But wait a second,” you say. “I thought May 14, 1948 was their birthdate!” Ahhh, such astute followers, you are! Indeed, Israel declared statehood on that fateful day in May 1948…on the Gregorian calendar! But, according to the Hebrew calendar, Yom HaAzma’ut lands on different dates, depending upon the year. (The Hebrew year has 360 days, with some adjustments.) So, this year, Yom HaAzma’ut happens to fall on April 19!
Israel’s 70th birthday is a big deal! It is said that, while most countries celebrate freedom on Independence Day, Israel celebrates its existence! How true. Only because God’s hand has been upon them, has Israel survived. (See yesterday’s post!) They were attacked on their first day of re-birth, and not a day has gone by that Israel has not kept her guard up against hostile neighbors and/or enemies. Also, in ancient times, Israel was exiled to Babylon for 70 years, so that length of time carries some significance.
So, how is the Jewish nation gearing up for celebration? In many different ways, but here is a very moving example. Pay attention to the words, enjoy…and rejoice with them!
Yom HaAzma’ut Semaech!