JLife highlights some of the commemorations and celebrations taking place in Manchester for Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut.
Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut offer the two conflicting sides of the Jewish experience. Before the party atmosphere on Yom Ha’atzmaut, we must take the time to reflect on those we have lost in conflict and war.
Observed as national holidays and commemorated by UK Jewish communities, particularly in Manchester, Yom Hazikaron, a memorial day for soldiers who lost their lives fighting in the War of Independence and in other subsequent battles, is followed by Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, marking the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948.
Yom Hazikaron is a solemn day during which places of entertainment are closed and two-minute sirens are sounded throughout all of Israel, one in the evening to mark the beginning of the holiday and one in the morning, prior to the nation’s public memorial ceremony. As on Yom Hashoah (1st May), Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, an air raid siren plays twice in Israel during Yom Hazikaron. During the sirens’ soundings, the entire country comes to a complete standstill.
The North West sector of UJIA, the Jewish youth charity which has strong links to Israel, will be leading the commemorations at the Hilton Suite at Prestwich Hebrew Congregation on 7th May from 7.30pm. It is free admission, but a voluntary donation would be appreciated from those who can contribute to this special event. Around 500 to 600 people are expected to attend the ceremony, all of whom will get to view an exclusive art exhibition from King David High School Year 8 students in the foyer of the venue before the evening’s proceedings get underway.
The first part of the evening will be led by a delegation from northern Israel, featuring Israeli youth who have stayed with families in Whitefield through the UJIA’s flagship programme, Magic Moments. The teens will have spent the week leading educational sessions in schools and volunteering in their host communities about Yom Hazikaron and will offer their own personal perspective on this solemn day.
The evening will then conclude with an in-person guest speaker, Yaron Edel, performer, adviser to TV and Netflix series When Heroes Fly, social activist and entrepreneur. Edel rose to fame following his acclaimed rap, ‘Officer’s State of Mind’ dealing with his struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Serving five years in Nahal as company commander and as captain during the Second Lebanon War, Edel then read Law at Hebrew University and became an entrepreneur and an activist for social change. He founded the NGO Project Resisim which provides tools for war-related PTSD sufferers to share their stories in protected environment.
As the 71st year of Israel’s existence, communities will gather this year on 9th May for a cross-communal Yom Ha’atzmaut kids-orientated party at a North Manchester venue at 4.30pm. Youth activities offered in association with UJIA will include craft sessions, a bouncy castle and a grand raffle for attendees to take part in. Many prizes will be on offer, including a grand prize of EL AL flights from Manchester. Ilan Sherman will be singing and compering the evening which will take on the theme of ‘Israeli cities’ throughout the event. Admission is £2.50 per person.
To find out more about the UJIA Yom Hazikaron event, contact Sara Radberg 0161 740 1825 (ext 3) or via email@example.com. To find out more details about the Yom Ha’aztmaut party, get in touch with Karen Solomon on 07875 705 388 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.