April 30, 2023
Celebrating 75 years of Israel’s statehood is a big deal. Generations of Zionists worked through countless challenges to achieve the milestone of statehood on May 14, 1948. Israel was born as a place of refuge for Jews seeking safety from persecution and as a place for them to build a vibrant Jewish and democratic society in our historic homeland. There is much joy in celebrating what’s been accomplished, and we also recognize the many challenges Israel faces. The ongoing protests against the judicial overhaul are highlighting the inequalities and injustices in Israel. As we celebrate this year, we must acknowledge what is hard alongside the joy.
We have two very meaningful ways in which to mark this year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut. Tonight (Thursday) we will hear from Gershom Gorenberg, a highly acclaimed Israeli journalist and author of several important books about Israel, who will help us reflect on what’s happening in Israeli society and what it must do going forward to be an equitable and vibrant democracy. Gorenberg is a speaker not to be missed. He is one of the most astute observers of Israel and always has insights that will help us better understand Israeli society, how it got to where it is, and its potential for the future. This event is co-sponsored with several other congregations and will be both in-person and virtual. You can find more information here.
Next Friday evening, April 28, we will be celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut with a festive Oneg Shabbat starting at 6:00 pm followed by Kabbalat Shabbat services featuring Israeli music and a special video greeting from Rabbis Gabby Dagan and Naama Dafni Kellen of Or Hadash in Haifa, one of the oldest and most prominent Reform congregation in Israel. Following services, we will have an evening featuring a delicious catered Israeli-style dinner, and uplifting music (and even dancing!) featuring Shakshuka, a well-known Chicago-based band. Let us know you will be at the dinner by registering today!
We hope that you will make Beth Emet your home in which to mark this important milestone.
Director of Congregation Engagement