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Rabbi Lisa's Message

5/15/24

When Israel became a state in 1948, three new holidays were added to the Jewish calendar: Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance day, which we began at sundown on May 5th), Yom HaZikaron (Memorial day which began at sundown on this past Sunday), Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence day which began at sundown on this past Monday). In 1967 Yom Y’rushalayim, celebrating the unification of the city of Jerusalem, was also added to the calendar. This year Yom Y’rushalayim begins the evening of June 4th. 


Yes, each of these holidays follow in quick succession right after Passover. We emerge from the liberation of Pesach and then step into these days highlighting remembrance, independence, unification, and celebration. 


All of this–the themes, and the moods, and the multiple observances–could not be more complicated and fraught right now. To all who are struggling, and that’s most everyone with whom I connect, let’s stand together during these challenging and stressful times. Let us not separate ourselves from our community, from each other. We need each other more than ever. 


Perhaps we can find strong footholds and support knowing that all of these holidays and observances inter-relate in ways that fortify the Jewish soul and strengthen Jewish community. The foundation for it all is memory, a living connection to our past. We remember the ancient past, by re-telling and re-experiencing our freedom story during Passover. We remember the recent past, with its horrors and its beauty, its losses and its gifts, its tragedies and its hope. 


Without memory, we lose track of who we are as a people. Our remembrance during these days have brought honor to those we have lost. Our stamina to hope and be inspired during these days reflects our deep gratitude and our dedication to keeping the Jewish people strong. 


Am Yisrael Chai.

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