Remembrance And Renewal-yom Ha'atzmaut (sicha) - -

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Resource Type: Peula in: English
Age: 12-14
Group Size: 10-50
Estimated Time: 45 minutes

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Resource Goal

The chanichim should leave the sicha understanding

(1) The power of Yom Haatzmaut how all these different Jews came together to fight as an Am and why it was it was so important for the Jews in 1948 to have an independent Jewish State.

(2) The battle for Yom Haatzmaut applies to us today and we can only truly appreciate it when looking at it as part of a cycle of the hardships of Jewish History (Yom Hashoah and Yom HaZicaron).

Required Props & Materials
6 chanichim to act as 6 personalities below

Resource Contents

Trigger: Pick 6 chanichim to play each of the following characters, and have them each present their story to the group. (You could bring signs with their names or cool costumes Israeli army hat, American army hat, kippa sruga, kibbutznik hat, payot, an Israeli flagetc).

Then divide the chanichim into groups and hand them the blurbs of the following characters and have them discuss the questions as small groups.

Dvir: Born in Israel, grandparents born in Israel, grew up on a kibbutz and wants to fight to defend his kibbutz and homeland. Very active in the Hagana, believes in fighting in self-defense.

Yechiel: Shtetl Jew who survived Treblinka, came on an illegal boat, wants to survive he just got freedom and now the Arabs are trying to take it away.

Yonatan: Religious Zionist, who learns in Ateret Cohanim, wants to fight for a religious state, to bring the geulah.

Mark: Assimilated Jew, fought in WW2 for the Americans, saw the camps and now wants to fight for a cause he believes in having a Jewish Homeland.

Leibel: Meah Shaarim Yerushalmi Jew. Dont believe in Zionism, but your house is under attack and under your rabbis orders, youve gone to help build trenches and do shmirah for your neighborhood under the local Palmach leader.

Merav: Grew up on one of the 1st kibbutzim in Israel. Her brother was killed in riots by the Arabs, and she turned to the Irgun because she believes that only by showing our power as a nation will we ever be able to be free. Many of her friends have been captured and tortured by the British, and she wants revenge.

- Which one of these people do you think helped the most in our achieving independence in 1948?

- To which do you think having independence and achieving a Jewish State made the biggest difference. Why? (For example the Holocaust survivor because now hes really free).

- Which would you se yourself as, if you were there fighting in 1948?

- What brought all these different people together to fight for the same country? What ideals did they all have in common?

Then bring the chanichim back together and have the chanichim read President Weizmanns speech (attached below):

Sicha: How does this speech make you feel? What is its message about Jewish History? It sounds a lot like the Hagada, where we say that we all have to feel as if we too came out of Egypt. Here its saying that we all need to feel that we all experienced all the different parts of Jewish History.

Do you think that this idea mentioned in the speech (of this collective experience of Jewish History) could have what brought everyone together? Or not?

What message does this speech have for us today? How can we take the lessons and inspirations of Yom Haatzmaut and of all the different people that fought, with us towards the future?

Finally explain to the chanichim that we see in this speech the hardships that we had to go through throughout Jewish History and especially towards 1948 in achieving the Jewish State. Ask the chanichim if any of them have ever been in Israel for Yom Ha'atzmaut, Yom Hazicaron or Yom Hashoah? Ask them if it feels different having these days in America versus in Israel. Why? In Israel, Yom Haatzmaut does not come in a vacuum, but as part of a cycle. Only after experiencing Yom Hashoah (from which many people came out of the camps to fight for Israel like Yechiel in our peulah), and then Yom Hazicaron (where young soldiers like Mark, Merav, Dvir died defending our country) can we celebrate Yom Haatzmaut. Only within the context of having experienced all of Jewish History can we truly feel Geulah.

Conclusion: When we look at all the different types of Jews and all the different reason for which they fought in 1948, we can get ourselves inspired about Medinat Israel today and the brave history on which it was founded.

On January 16, 1996, then President of Israel, Ezer Weizmann, gave a speech to both Houses of Parliament of Germany. He gave this speech in Hebrew to the Germans, fifty years after the Holocaust, and in it he beautifully summed up what Jewish history is. He said:

"It was fate that delivered me and my contemporaries into this great era when the Jews returned to re-establish their homeland...

"I am no longer a wandering Jew who migrates from country to country, from exile to exile. But all Jews in every generation must regard themselves as if they had been there in previous generations, places and events. Therefore, I am still a wandering Jew but not along the far flung paths of the world. Now I migrate through the expanses of time from generation to generation down the paths of memory...

"I was a slave in Egypt. I received the Torah on Mount Sinai. Together with Joshua and Elijah I crossed the Jordan River. I entered Jerusalem with David and was exiled with Zedekiah. And I did not forget it by the rivers of Babylon. When the Lord returned the captives of Zion I dreamed among the builders of its ramparts. I fought the Romans and was banished from Spain. I was bound to the stake in Mainz. I studied Torah in Yemen and lost my family in Kishinev. I was incinerated in Treblinka, rebelled in Warsaw, and immigrated to the Land of Israel, the country from where I have been exiled and where I have been born and from which I come and to which I return.

"I am a wandering Jew who follows in the footsteps of my forbearers. And just as I escort them there and now and then, so do my forbearers accompany me and stand with me here today.

"I am a wandering Jew with the cloak of memory around my shoulders and the staff of hope in my hand. I stand at the great crossroads in time, at the end of the twentieth century. I know whence I come and with hope and apprehension I attempt to find out where I am heading.

"We are all people of memory and prayer. We are people of words and hope. We have neither established empires nor built castles and palaces. We have only placed words on top of each other. We have fashioned ideas. We have built memorials. We have dreamed towers of yearning, of Jerusalem rebuilt, of Jerusalem united, of a peace that will swiftly and speedily establish us in our days. Amen."

Related Resources can be found under:

» All > Judaism > Jewish identity

» All > Jewish Holidays > Memorial Day

» All > Jewish Holidays > Israel's Independance Day

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