This is the day which Hashem has made the day when we can celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut in song and in dance at Hasmonean. To celebrate in a way which includes every student, different events were arranged. The hall was filled with students dressed in varying combinations of blue and white, with a backdrop of flags and balloons. For those who wished to praise Hashem in full voice, there was Tephilla with a rousing, heartfelt Hallel.
Following Tephilla, Rikki Shatzkes, on behalf of the Israel Society, gave a clear and brief speech about the establishment and history of the State. She also shared her personal reflections, including speaking about her brother who made Aliyah age 18 and joined the IDF.
Rabbi Schiff came in to speak about his own reflections on Yom Ha’Atzmaut, and clearly showed his excitement at being in Hasmonean at a time when we do celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut! He recalled his own swearing in ceremony at the Kotel, where another Hasmo Alumnus (now Lord Kestenbaum), said to him: ‘Why did Hashem say to Moshe go up the mountain and lift up your eyes?’ The answer: it is not easy to live in Israel, but this is where we are supposed to be. ‘Lift up your eyes’ and be thankful for all that Hashem has done. Tov le’Hodot L’Hashem. This is the essence of being a Jew- to always recognise the good.
And with that, each student wrote a note describing what she felt grateful to Israel for, tied it to a blue or white balloon and the whole school released those balloons into the sunshine.
Later on in the morning, there was a return to the hall for celebrating, dancing, eating watermelon, drinking ice coffee, face painting, and balloon art! Tov L’Hodot- it was truly wonderful to be able to celebrate the 74th birthday of our homeland in true Hasmonean style.
Thank you to HIPE, the madrichot who joined us, and to the one and only Kevin and site team.
Yom HaZikaron – Girls’ School
For Yom HaZikaron, Devorah and Avi Kay, parents of Eli who was murdered in Jerusalem in November 2021, came to speak to the Year 8 and 9 girls. Devorah and Avi shared lessons learned from Eli’s life, including the importance of personal integrity, Eli’s love of the Land of Israel, and his willingness to help those around him in need regardless of background or religion.
Devorah told the girls how she has been inspired by Eli about the importance of following one’s own sense of what is right and not worrying what others may think. She shared a story of how Eli paid for a stranger’s shoes when his credit card wasn’t working and how he would greet the market vendors in Machane Yehudah by name. Eli was an exceptional young man whose smile and warmth gave joy to everyone he met.
Avi spoke about the importance of choosing to respond to tragedy with strength. The students were given the opportunities to ask questions at the end of the talk.