On the fifth day of the month of Iyar, Israeli Independence Day celebrates the founding of the State of Lit. ”the one who struggles with God.” Israel means many things. It is first used with reference to Jacob, whose name is changed to Israel (Genesis 32:29), the one who struggles with God. Jacob’s children, the Jewish people, become B’nai Israel, the children of Israel. The name also refers to the land of Israel and the State of Israel.. Originally corresponding to the date May 14, 1948, Israel Independence Day, celebrated with parties and parades on the 5th of the Jewish month of Iyar; preceeded by Israel Memorial Day. commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Tel Aviv. Many rituals and prayers have been added to traditional liturgy to mark this historic occasion, including the Prayer for the State of Israel and the Prayer for Peace. As Israel’s sovereignty did not come without a cost, Yom Ha’Atzmaut is celebrated the day after Yom Ha’Zikaron (Israeli Memorial Day), which honors those who lost their lives for the establishment of the Jewish state. Today, as tension and unrest continue to define the state of affairs between Israelis and Palestinians, we turn to ritual, prayer, and poetry as a container for our hopes and dreams for peace and safety.
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