The Ups and Downs: Jewish Perspective

Photo credit: karen horton / Foter.com / CC BY

Photo credit: karen horton / Foter.com / CC BY

The cycle of the Jewish calendar year brings us much ups and downs.  A few weeks ago we celebrated one of the high moments, Passover, the redemption from slavery to freedom. Then last week we commemorated Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Memorial Day.  This is certainly one of the saddest moments in the calendar, to remember the 6 million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis and their sympathizers because they were Jewish.

As we came out of that valley of tears, we turn this week to one of our highest moments once again.  Yom Ha’Atzmaut – Israel’s Independence Day – is a time when we reflect on the profound miracle of Israel’s existence as a modern and democratic Jewish state. 3000 years old, and 65 years young, its a time when Jews around the world celebrate our independent homeland – with singing, dancing, parades, speeches and birthday cake.

In Israel itself, because its such a young country, many were alive the day it was founded in 1948.  The country stops everything and takes the time to acknowledge the sacrifices of previous generations to make the state of reality and then joyously celebrates throughout the night.  Israel today has a lot to be proud of, a “Start Up Nation”, for all her advances in bio-medicine, mobile and computer technology, farming and irrigation and green energy (see www.ma-tovu.ca for more information).

Yet we know there is still work to be done to live up to the promise in our declaration of Independence, “complete equality…to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.”  As we mark this high point in the Jewish calendar, we remember what it took to get here and take the time to celebrate a modern miracle, a homeland for the Jewish people, once again in the land of Israel.

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