Yom Ha’Atzma’ut 2010 - Celebration in Tel Aviv School

by Chesky Kopel, Shana Bet Student


YomHaAtzmaut2010This year’s Yom Ha’Atzma’ut festivities were especially memorable for several dozen Har Etzion students. It began when the group, which included about 20 Shana Bet overseas students, traveled on the late afternoon of Yom HaZikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day) to the Reishit School in southern Tel Aviv. They arrived just before nightfall to participate in the Tekes Ma’avar or “transition ceremony,” in which Yom HaZikaron is concluded with a solemn commemoration of Israel’s fallen soldiers, followed by joyful celebration of Israel’s Independence Day.

Reishit is a religious public school located in a particularly secular and impoverished area of the city, run by Yeshiva alumnus Rabbi Sefi Sherman ‘86H. Due to its unique identity and location, the school does double-duty, serving as a religious community center in an area sorely lacking other resources.

The Har Etzion students watched and applauded as the Reishit students performed in honor of the holidays, and then helped give life to the dancing and the festive Ma’ariv (led by Har Etzion student Gilad Brounstein) in honor of Yom Ha’Atzma’ut.

The Tel Avivians and yeshiva students all enjoyed the experience, and for the overseas students in particular, the encounter with the Tel Aviv community served as an important exposure to the diversity of the communities in Israel, and to the reality of the nation’s religious demographics. The Yeshiva has been involved in many such programs in the past and hopes to continue supporting communities-in-need in the future.

We are deeply thankful to Josiah and Gila Rotenberg of Jerusalem for their help in publishing a special siddur for this occasion and for sponsoring this program.