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Shiny but rumpled Israeli flag lying upon a white surface

In the beginning of 1948, in preparation for the announcement on the establishment of the State of Israel, one of the questions the Zionist movement leadership dealt with had to do with what song would be chosen as the national anthem. One of the suggestions that was brought up was Psalm 126, which speaks about the return of the Jewish people to their homeland, and in so doing, emphasizes the connection of the young state to the Tanach, the Jewish people’s ancient history and to Jewish tradition. This Psalm, which opens the...

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Paved road leading to sunshine/light

The prophet Isaiah, having witnessed the destruction of his homeland, ancient Israel, famously offered the world a compelling vision of peace:

And they shall beat their swords into plowshares And their spears into pruning hooks: Nation shall not take up Sword against nation; They shall never again know war….

The wolf and the lamb shall graze together, And the lion shall eat straw like the ox. -- Isaiah 2:4, 11:6,7)

Isaiah continually seeks to remind his beleaguered people not to lose faith. The mission statement of the Jewish people to be a “light to the nations...

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Italian flag/banner with Italy written underneath

On Saturday afternoons during my childhood, my mother blared the Metropolitan Opera’s live broadcasts in stereo on every radio in our house. Although the Italian operas generally ended with a young, beautiful heroine succumbing to murder or a bout of tuberculosis, I particularly adored the colorful and tragic characters in these performances. To my young ears, the singers’ flowing Italian arias meshed with the formal Hebrew I knew from synagogue, creating a wonderful mash-up of cultures and languages.

Perhaps it was my family’s personal mash-up.

My dad’s olive skin and dark...

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Israeli flag on a pole in the foreground; people watching the sun set in the background

As solemn memory turned to glorious celebration, I stood on the balcony of my friend’s apartment in Rehavia, a neighborhood in Jerusalem. We listened to the partiers on the streets around us and craned our necks to spot the fireworks in the distance.

It was Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s birthday, a day of loud music and barbeque parties. We had just mourned those who fell in war and terrorist attacks on Yom HaZikaron, and as night deepened, our tears, and the country’s tears, were turning into joy. We...

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Young boy holding Israeli flag

This week Jews around the world will celebrate Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence Day. Here are five ways you can celebrate the holiday with young children.

  1. Read picture books about Israel to learn about Israeli culture, famous places, what to expect when visiting. Ella’s Trip to Israel,...
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