Thursday, March 21, 2019

This year’s community-wide Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration, marking the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding, will take place at the Jewish Center of Teaneck on April 18. Sponsored by 14 Bergen County synagogues, the event will feature an assortment of music and activities in addition to Israeli food. All adults and children sixth grade and up are welcome and encouraged to attend this event, which will begin at 7:15 p.m.

The event will begin with Mincha, after which a Yom Hazikaron presentation will be given by an Israeli soldier, Matan Dansker, followed by Tefilat Maariv chagigit. Guests will then be invited to the Jewish Center’s social hall, which will be set up to resemble an Israeli shuk, where they will be able to enjoy food, music, games and a taste of Israel’s culture. The event will conclude in the shul with sing-along
musical performances featuring classic Israeli folk songs. David Gordon and Susan Gordon will lead the performances as pianist and violinist respectively.

The event will be led by co-chairs Rabbi Daniel Fridman and David Jacobowitz, with organizational contributions from Rabbi Yishai and Yiskah Klein, youth directors at the Jewish Center of Teaneck. Speaking with The Jewish Link, Rabbi Fridman, who also serves as the rabbi of the Jewish Center, explained that there is a much deeper meaning behind such an event.

“What is vital concerning this event is that it reflects the fact that our community, in celebration of 70 years of Medinat Yisrael, does not take her existence for granted,” he explained. “After a certain amount of time living with a certain phenomenon in life, one begins to simply assimilate its existence into the framework of what one deems normal. Medinat Yisrael’s very existence, from before day one, is anything but normal; on the contrary, it is a reflection of both the overwhelming hand of Providence in history, as well as a breathtaking instantiation of the verse in Sefer Shmuel, “Netzach Yisrael lo yishaker” (The Eternal One of Israel does not utter falsehoods), in the sense that shivat Tzion (return of millions of Jewish people to Zion) after millennia of exile represents Divine fulfillment of the biblical promise. There is simply no precedent for such a return in the annals of human history, and candidly, nothing even remotely similar.”

Echoing his sentiments, Jacobowitz shared with The Jewish Link his passion for the State of Israel and explained that those emotions and that love are what drove him to assist with this event.

“This night is an opportunity for reflection on Israel’s many accomplishments,” he said. “For those of us who feel extremely connected to Israel and who understand how vital it is to the Jewish world, it’s a privilege to mark the occasion of its anniversary. Seventy is quite a milestone. The valiant efforts expended to establish the modern State of Israel, and the sacrifices that were made in order to make it a reality, are worthy of recognition and celebration.”

The two are eagerly looking forward to the event, at which attendance is expected to hit upward of 400 people. Jacobowitz explained that going through the process of putting the event together, especially regarding how many shuls were willing to be sponsors, was a heartening experience showcasing the unity of the Jewish community. Rabbi Fridman shared that he’s most looking forward to the event because he sees it as a statement regarding Zionism.

“This event is a profound communal statement that religious Zionism is not merely alive and well in Teaneck, but it relates to the most critical elements of our worldview,” Rabbi Fridman stated. “Our perception that we are witnessing an ongoing miracle, our commitment to do all in our power to strengthen Medinat Yisrael, in all senses of the term, to shape it in accordance with Torah values, and to regard it not merely as a parallel community but as our collective destiny, for ourselves and for our children, must continue to be at the top of our communal agenda.”

RSVP is not necessary for the event. Guests simply need to come to the venue prepared for a meaningful evening.

By Adam Samuel

Adam Samuel is a journalist from Teaneck. When he isn’t busy reading the daily news, he divides his time between managing his blog, adamssoapbox.blog, and gradually learning how to play piano.