Dear WJC Family,
This is the week of the “Yom’s.” Yesterday, we commemorated Yom HaShoah, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. Next week starting on Tuesday night we commemorate Yom HaZikaron, Israeli Memorial Day, and Wednesday Night we celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel Independence Day. When the newly formed Knesset voted to create these “Yom’s” they were tapping into millenia of tradition grouping holidays on the calendar. Whether it is the fall holidays of Rosh HaShanah, Yom Kippur and Sukkot or the spring holidays of Passover, Lag B’Omer and Shavuot, the Torah and our tradition tend to group holidays.
It is not only that the holidays all come around the same time, but in each of these cases there is a mix of solemnity and celebration, mourning and joy. These holidays, though innovations of the young modern State of Israel, follow the patterns of our ancient calendar. Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron remind us of our lowest moments and all that has been lost while Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrates the comfort of protection and pride of purpose that come with sovereignty in our Homeland.
Though I spent the actual evening of Yom HaShoah at the Massachusetts State Holocaust Memorial in Boston as pictured here, a stunning and thought-provoking edifice, the WJC custom is to commemorate Yom HaZikaron with a ceremony on a Sunday at our own beautiful Shoah Memorial. That ceremony will begin with an in-person service at our Memorial this Sunday at 10am (registration required to attend in-person) that will also be broadcast on Zoom (see information below) and will continue with a Zoom-only presentation by Dr. Mark Seigel, “Politics in the building of the National Holocaust Museum” starting at 10:30 and followed by a Q+A session.
Then on Thursday we will mark Yom Ha’atzmaut with an outdoor celebration. From 7:30pm to 8:30pm Shmulik Gov-Ari will lead some Israeli Dancing favorites and from 8:30 Cantor Ethan Goldberg and Rabbi Shoshie Goldberg will sing some Israeli song favorites. Join us (in-person only) with masks and social distancing.
And please note, as we ramp up our offerings both in-person and online, please be patient and offer constructive feedback. Every time we add a new event with ever-evolving safety guidelines, it is a largely new experience. We will always prioritize safety and security and mold the program or ritual to fit those parameters That takes extensive careful planning and some trial and error. Thank you for your support as we work all of that out.
We are looking forward to being with our in-person group on Shabbat and with those of you who will join us on Zoom or the live stream. Rabbi Dalton is away for Shabbat, so Cantor Goldberg and I are looking forward to seeing you tonight at 6:00pm for Kabbalat Shabbat on Zoom and in the morning starting at 9:15 on the live stream. Havdalah will be Saturday night at 8:15pm on Zoom.
See you in shul or online,