Israeli Independence Day: Yom Ha'Atzmaut

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On the fifth day of the month of Iyar, Israeli Independence Day celebrates the founding of the State of Israel. Originally corresponding to the date May 14, 1948, Yom Ha'Atzmaut commemorates the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Tel Aviv. Many rituals and prayers have been added to traditional liturgy to mark this historic occasion, including the Prayer for the State of Israel and the Prayer for Peace. As Israel's sovereignty did not come without a cost, Yom Ha'Atzmaut is celebrated the day after Yom Hazikaron (Israeli Memorial Day), which honors those who lost their lives for the establishment of the Jewish state. Today, as tension and unrest continue to define the state of affairs between Israelis and Palestinians, we turn to ritual, prayer, and poetry as a container for our hopes and dreams for peace and safety.