by Shira Rosenberg
While you may have heard about the more common Jewish holidays that we have school off for every year like Yom Kippur or Rosh Hashanah, there are some smaller holidays that relate specifically in Israel, but are celebrated around the world, too.
Every year, usually on the 4th and 5th day of the 8th month in Israel, two unique holidays are celebrated. This year, they fall on May 7th at sunset through and May 8th at nightfall, and May 8th at sunset through May 9th at nightfall, and these two holidays are called Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut. Last year, I was in Israel for these two holidays and I was able to experience them firsthand. First of all, Yom Hazikaron means the day of remembrance. This day is celebrated every year in Israel, and honors the fallen soldiers. The country shuts down for this day, and there is a siren that is heard throughout the whole country, and it lasts for one minute. This siren is amazing because everything in the whole country stops. We were walking down a busy street last year when the siren sounded, and everyone, whether they were on a car, bike, or walking, stopped and got out of their cars, and stood for the duration of the siren. In Israel, since being in the army is mandatory for up to three years, everyone in the country knows someone who has or has lost at least one loved one in the army.
But in the night, the whole atmosphere changes in the country. The next day is called Yom Haatzmaut, which is the Israeli Independence day. All day, everyone across the country is celebrating the Israeli independence. The whole day is filled with parties, and every city has a performance where thousands of people come to celebrate.
Even though these two holidays are extremely different, they are amazing to witness and celebrate, whether in Israel or not. Being able to see the celebrations firsthand last year was eye opening and showcased the importance of the holidays.