Yom HaShoah: In 1953 the Israeli Knesset designated the 27th day of Nisan, a week after the end of Passover and a week before Yam Ha Zikaron, (Memorial Day for Israeli’s fallen soldiers) as a day to remember the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust.  It is the anniversary of the uprising of the Warsaw Ghetto.

 

Yom HaZikaron (Israel Memorial Day):  In the month of Iyar, we remember, along side our fellow Jews in Israel, those who fought and died for Israel’s independence and throughout its history.  At precisely 11 am, a siren wails for two minutes and all Israeli’s, no matter where they are, stop what they are doing and stand at attention, in silence, in honor of our fallen.

 

Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Indepedence Day):  Israel Independence Day is celebrated in the month of Iyar to commemorate the Declaration of the Establishment of the State of Israel on the 14 of May 1948, marking the end of the British Mandate.

 

Lag B’Omer:  Jews respect for learning is legendary.  Lag B’Omer, sometimes known as the Scholars’ Holiday, commemorates the anniversary of the death of Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, who, according to Kabbalists, authored the Zohar.  In Israel Jews make pilgrimage to his tomb on Mt. Meron in northern Gallilee. At Congregation Am HaYam we hold a special service to recognize the date.

 

Tisha B’Av:  The ninth day of the month of Av is observed as the day of fasting and mourning in commemoration of the destruction of the First and Second Temples in 586 BCE and 70 CE, the expulsion of Jews from Spain, and other efforts that sought our annihilation.    Services, with special readings and music allow us  to reflect on the survival of our people.

 

Tu B’Shevat:  Long before Earth Day, Jews recognized the beauty and importance of nature by setting aside a day considered New Year of the Trees.  During Tu B’Shevat, the 15th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat, Jews picnic, plant trees, eat figs and dates, and contribute funds to the Jewish National Fund to ensure continuation of tree planting in Israel.