If you can’t actually be in Israel to see, hear and feel the surge of emotions on Yom Ha’Zikaron – Israel’s memorial day, and the unrestrained joy of Yom Ha’atz’maut, Israel’s Independence Day, then the next best thing is to share in a community-wide celebration and display of unity and support for the State of Israel. On Monday evening, April 15, three Englewood synagogues—Ahavath Torah, Kehillat Kesher and East Hill Synagogue—joined The Moriah School in commemorating Israel’s fallen soldiers and celebrating 65 years of independence. Directed by Hebrew teacher Michelle Grushka, 8th grade students of Moriah held the audience spellbound with an audiovisual tribute to those Israelis who have made the ultimate sacrifice in battle and those whose lives have been cut short by terrorists. Following the Moriah presentation, guest speaker Dr. Naftali Moses reflected on the life of his son, Avraham David Moses, z”l, who at 16 was murdered in the terrorist attack on the Mercaz Ha’Rav Yeshiva in 2008.
With a festive Ma’ariv service following the somber mood of the Yom Ha’Zikaron program, the bridge was crossed from sadness to joy and the celebration of Israel’s 65th birthday was underway. As the overflow crowd proceeded to the ballroom, everyone was greeted with the rousing sounds of the Moriah choir, under the direction of music teacher Sharon Kinstlinger and entered a magnificent Israeli shuk, complete with fruits, vegetables, sweets and traditional Israeli salads. An extra special touch to the Israeli flavor of the evening was a group of Moriah fifth graders, led by Israeli shlichot Inbal Azouley and Shir Schechter, who performed an Israeli flag dance known as a “daglanut.” The music drew the crowd into the dancing that topped off this magnificent celebration.