Yom Ha'atzmaut - What Does It Really Mean?

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Resource Type: Peula in: English
Age: 6-13
Group Size: 5-30
Estimated Time: 90 minutes

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Resource Goal

To deal with Yom Haatzmaut, Israels national independence day and make sure they know about it.

Resource Contents

Introduction and Sicha: This weeks snif will deal with Yom Haatzmaut, Israels national independence day.

Start off by making sure that the kids know what a national independence day isfor example, explain that it is comparable to the Fourth of July in the United States [note to CanadiansADAPT!]. Explain that Israelis celebrate Yom Haatzmaut in a similar way to how we celebrate the Fourth of July for example, there is no school and all governmental offices are closed. People take the opportunity to spend time with their families and have barbeques in the national parks, go to the beach or on a tiyul, etc. Also, just as the Fourth of July celebrates a specific historical event that symbolizes when America got its independence (namely, the signing of the Declaration of Independence), Yom Haatzmaut is a historical celebration which celebrates when Israel was acknowledged as an independent state in 1948, as well as our military victory in 1967, in which we regained the Golan Heights, the Sinai and Jerusalem.

So now we know how Yom Haatzmaut is celebrated and why. Now how can WE celebrate Yom Haatzmaut, even though we are not in Israel? Explain that through Zionism (love of the State of Israel), we can celebrate Israels independence every day!

Part of the greatness of Eretz Yisroel is just knowing that its there for us, whenever we need it and that its borders are completely open to all Jews (called the Law of Return). It was very important to those who founded the State in 1948 that every Jew around the world know that there would always be a place for them to live where they wouldnt be persecuted or dependent on any other nation to live.

You can drive this point home with the following GAME:

You have to be in a large, square room for this game to work. Divide the kids into 4 groups and have them each stand in a corner of the room. Explain that each corner of the room is like a different country, ie: France, Russia, etc. They are all Jewish refugees who must run from country to country, trying to find refuge. There is one person in the middle of the room and that person is the persecutor. The persecutor closes his/her eyes and spins around in a circle for 10 seconds, at the end of which, he/she ends up pointing at one of the corners of the room. Whoever is in that corner is out (persecuted). Now while the persecutor is spinning, all the kids are allowed to run around and pick a corner for refuge. But at the end of the 10 seconds, every kid must be in one corner and by the time the persecutor opens up hi/her eyes, anyone in the corner that he is pointing to is out. The last person not to be out wins and the corner they are in becomes Israel. Why? Because it is the one place that a Jew can go unpersecuted!

After the game is over, they will probably want to play it again and again. It is really addictive. But it is a good idea to eventually discuss the point of the game and relate it to our theme of Yom Haatzmaut and what Israels independence means to us (see above).

Related Resources can be found under:
» Alles > De Joodse kalender > Onafhankelijksdag van Israel
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