Celebrate Israel's Independence Day Virtually

This week our global Jewish family turns its collective thoughts, aspirations, and hearts to the eternal home of the Jewish people, Israel. Today, on Yom HaZikaron (Israel's Memorial Day), we – collectively – remember those who have fallen in the establishment, defense, and prosperity of the Jewish state. Tonight, and tomorrow, on Yom Ha'atzmaut (Independence Day), with what feels like our very next breath, we will celebrate the realization of the dream that is the State of Israel. These cherished days, both in definition and observance, represent the indelible sorrow of sacrifice and loss and the joy of redemption and self-determination that are woven into the Israeli ethos. 

Yom HaZikaron has personal significance for every Israeli as nearly everyone knows someone who has perished. The solemnity of the day emanates beyond Israel, throughout the diaspora, and unites the Jewish people under the veil of mourning, respect, and remembrance. At the end of Yom HaZikaron, transitional ceremonies flip the societal switch from somberness and mourning to exuberance and celebration as the country welcomes Yom Ha'atzmaut.  The streets overflow with celebratory parties, singing, dancing, and food. The intensity of the celebration marking the declaration of Jewish independence is palpable in Jewish communities around the world.  

It is fitting that Yom Ha'atzmaut is celebrated immediately after Yom HaZikaron. It is from the sacrifice of those who have fallen that makes the celebration of independence possible. Today the Israeli people continue to make the sacrifices required to ensure Jewish autonomy. Despite the gravity of this burden, Israelis live with an irrepressible passion and unwavering pride as they steward and defend the only Jewish state in the world. As we collectively bow our heads in mourning today and then raise our voices in celebration tomorrow; let us not forget the perpetual cost of Jewish self-determination nor take for granted our ability – through the existence of Israel - to declare that there will never again be a homeless Jew.  

This year, Israel Fest (originally scheduled for Sunday, April 26) will not be celebrated in person or on the Schultz Campus, instead, we encourage you to celebrate while social distancing. 

There are 2 opportunities. One is a virtual global celebration on Wednesday, April 29, hosted by  The Jewish Agency FaceBook English page beginning at 11 a.m. and The Jewish Federations of North America’s Facebook page at 2 p.m. or on YouTube.

The second is a virtual zoom program on Sunday, May 3 at noon that includes participation from our clergy as well as messages from former Shlichim.  As part of our live streaming, we will be doing some community sharing. While you may watch on Facebook, if you wish to be a part of the community sharing via zoom, YOU MUST RSVP HERE and you will be emailed the link. In preparation for the community sharing, please CLICK HERE to download an Israel themed background and be able to share why that backdrop is meaningful/memorable.

Show us how you are celebrating Israel’s birthday! Post a photo of how you and your family are celebrating Israel’s birthday and share it on social media with #JewishAkronCelebrates.

Ideas include: sharing your favorite photo of you in Israel if you have been, wearing blue and white, your favorite Israeli food, chalk drawing of an Israeli flag, download this flag template or color page of Jerusalem. Post your photos and we will share how we as a community are celebrating and supporting Israel.


  1. For those with children 9- 12 and 8 & younger, the PJ Library OurWay and PJ Library webpages are a wealth of activities and resources. The PJ Library sends free Jewish children's books to Jewish families across the world every month. PJ Library shares Jewish stories that can help families talk together about values and traditions that are important, to find out more about the PJ Library, CLICK HERE.
  2.  Ji Bytes – Let your kids chew on a taste of Israel with Ji Bytes.
  3.  Over 100 games and courses about Israel created by expert teachers.
  4. For the foodies, CHECK OUT THESE IDEAS for making Israeli Food.
  5. View the film, Sustainable Nation. Available through May 2.
  6. Yom Hazikaron related films: When the Smoke Clears
  7. Yom HaÁtzmaut Quarantine Quest Play this mission-based, online team game at the date and time of your choice. This game is great for groups of families, Pre-booking necessary! It's easy to sign up for the Yom HaÁtzmaut Quarantine Quest! Simply click here and register. Good luck!
  8. Worldwide Celebration of Israel's Independence Day
  9. Yom Ha'atzmaut related films:


Todd Polikoff