May 2019

This year the Hebrew month of Iyar coincides with the month of May.  There are several special days this month, some new, and one very old.  Chronologically, the first one is Yom Hashoah, Holocaust remembrance Day, this year on May 2, when we commemorate the loss of 6 million Jews in the Holocaust.  We also remember the heroism of the rescuers and the survivors, many of whom are gone now.  You are probably familiar with the many services of remembrance which are held each year.  In Israel, there is a two-minute silence in which all work stops.  The date was chosen to be one week before Yom Ha’atzma’ut, Israel’s Independence Day, and that falls this year on May 9.
    Independence Day commemorates the Israeli Declaration of Independence in 1948 and is a celebration of joy and festivities in Israel.  The day is always preceded by another special day, Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day for fallen soldiers.  The two days are linked together since Israeli independence is a result of the sacrifice of soldiers’ lives.  So we go from remembering to celebrating, a natural progression.  In America, observing Yom Ha’atsma’ut is one way to show support for and pride in Israel.  Our marking of this day usually includes singing Hatikvah, The Hope. 
    The last special day to mention is Lag B’Omer, and unlike the previous 3 holidays, this one is very old.  It is on May 23 this year, the 33rd day of the Omer, which we begin counting on the second day of Passover.  What is so special about it?  It serves as a break in the semi-mourning period between Passover and Shavuot.  Many misfortunes and disasters in our history occurred during this period.  So, we have a kind of half holiday when there can be weddings, fun games for children, and when little boys may finally have their first haircut if they have turned 3 by this time! 
    All of these special days remind us of the hope we continually carry within us. 
Click here for a cute rendition of Hatikvah  which you may enjoy.   L’hitra’ot, until next time!