Yom Ha’azmaut

May 6, 2014 by  
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Yom Ha’azmaut celebrations in Melbourne and Sydney…celebrating Israel’s 66th birthday.

From Sabina Baunin in Sydney:

Celebrating in Sydney

Celebrating in Sydney              Photo: Sabina Baunin


Members of Sydney’s Jewish community  have celebrated Israel’s Independence Day at Randwick Racecourse.

The Yom Ha’azmaut celebration was organised by the Zionist Council of NSW.

The event began with community members and organisations including the Gift of Life, Magen David Adom and JNF. The carnival atmosphere was enjoyed  children and adults alike. Israeli dancing was performed by the children ahead of  organised entertainment.

Various members of the community kindly volunteered their time to reflect on the meaning of the day and describe what Israel means to them on a personal level.

Here is what they had to say

Belinda Levi from JNF:

Israel means a great deal to me, without it we not be as confident as we are that there is a homeland for the Jews

Tamara: I’m at Magendavid Adom. Israel is very important to me because Israel it’s the homeland of the Jewish people, I have a son there, and Magendavid Adom services the people of Israel.

Rabbi Mendy Litzman: (from first aid service)

What Israel means, well Israel is our Holy Land, it’s out homeland and it’s the one land where we’ll all be

Ezra Israel:

‘Israel is the ultimate destination, when the Sheliach (Messiah) comes, I want to be there and I want to make Aliyah there as soon as possible and it’s a very holy place to live.

The concert truly captured the festive and celebratory nature of Yom Ha’atzmaut through the power of music, concert immaculately organised by Avigail Herman.

Richard Balkin, opened the concert with an inspiring speech stating:  ‘We as members of the Australian Jewish community are fortunate that we have the freedom to hold our heads up high and sing and dance tonight as we celebrate Israel’s’ 66th birthday’.

The bands that played were glass, Hamsa and a trio of talented women, Miriam Lieberman, Kata Adams and Lara Goodridge. Throughout the concert each song and each performance were powerful renditions and energetic songs that truly captured the festive and celebratory vigour of Yom Ha’atzmaut.

There was spontaneous audience participation as they danced freely in circles, lines and groups welcoming a night of community celebration.

The night ended with a treasured classic ‘Shalom Aleynu’, reminding each and very one of a very important idea…how peace is something that is a basic and intrinsic desire, and it is something that in order to exist, must come from within. This concert with its spectacular performances payed testimony to how the power of music can build bridges between worlds and inspire passion in our hearts.

From Brenda Segal in Melbourne:

Telling the story in Melbourne

Telling the story in Melbourne

Last night flags were waved, toes were tapping and people were singing along as the Victorian community came together to celebrate Israel’s 66th birthday.

The Melbourne Recital Centre, provided the perfect venue for ths incredible celebration. Young and old celebrated as they revelled in Israel’s rich tapestry of cultures and traditions – a tapestry that weaves together old and young, east and west to bring a completely new and vibrant look and sound to the world.

The transition from Yom Hazikaron to Yom Ha’atzmaut was a poignant occasion and as we neared the close of the period of reflection and sorrow, we honour and stand proud in recognition of the Israeli Defence Forces, members of other security forces and all those who strive for peace and security for all Israel’s citizens and for Jews around the world.

Yom Ha’atzmaut is a celebration of a country that for 66 years has offered the world the fruits of its innovation and resourcefulness. A country who have offered the Jews of the Diaspora a homeland and a country for which we are extremely grateful and proud.

School groups, youth movements and community leaders all played a vital part in making the sold out concert a successful event. The headline act of the concert, Lior did not disappoint. His velvet voice weaving a story of his childhood songs and memories, bringing an extra special angle to the event.

Musical director Adam Starr outdid himself yet again bringing a perfect mix of old and new to the venue.

Zionist Council of Victoria’s President, Sam Tatarka said: “Israel thrives at 66 years of age, the nation State and homeland of the Jewish people is a truly amazing country that has achieved so much in its short history and looks set to go on doing so for many years.

“In the coming year the Zionist Countil will continue its efforts in advocating for the State. We will give the community the opportunity to engage with the issues through the provision of a range of stimulating, thought provoking and educational activities that give expression of diversity of opinion and perspective. Activities that inform an empower people to engage with Israel and the issues that continue to confront it as it develops in the years to come.

“At the heart of all our efforts is the hope that Israel will one day live in peace and harmony amongst its neighbours. May that day indeed come soon.”

His Excellency, Shmuel Ben-Shmuel, Israel’s Ambassador to Australia said: “To be independent, to be free, and to have the right to express our own destiny as a people and as a nation was a dream that we kept alive even in the darkest moments our history.

“Perhaps one of our greatest successes to date is the State of Israel’s commitment to protecting our fellow humans; preserving their right to survival – no matter their religion, creed or ethnicity.

“Israel is a true success story. A small country with already six world-class universities, more scientific papers and Nobel Prizes per capita than any other nation, and the most advanced high-tech sector outside of Silicon Valley.

“It brings me great pride to see Israel’s national day celebrated with as much passioin and pleasure here, as it is in the streets of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, because this is truly one of the most warm, passionate, and committed Zionist communities I have ever seen.”



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