Thursday, August 6, 2020 -
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Emotional roller coaster

The post-Passover roller coaster is slowly coming to an end. You’d think Passover, with all its associated preparations and restrictions, would be enough stress to last for a few months, but in Israel, this pivotal religious holiday is followed by Israel’s ‘High Holidays’: the triad of Yom HaShoah, Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut.

Although Israel is a Jewish state, its national character is formed less by religiosity and more by a collective Jewish identity based on historical events. These three public holidays symbolize the modern Israeli nation in all its tumultuousness: the highs and lows, the struggles and the triumphs, that continue to define Israel to this day. As such, they are sometimes referred to as the Israeli high holidays.

We only came across the phrase recently, but we found it apt. In Israel, there are also suggestions that the ten days between Yom HaShoah and Yom Ha’atzmaut be called “The Ten Days of Thanks,” modeled after the Ten Days of Repentance between Rosh HaShana and Yom Kippur.

Is it fate that these events take place in spring? Of course the dates were chosen to commemorate historic events – the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising and the declaration of Israel’s independence – but was it coincidence that these events were sandwiched between the two holidays when the Jewish people celebrate their freedom (Passover) and nationhood (Shavuot)?

Fortunately, we’re well into the “up” phase of this roller coaster, having just celebrated 66 years of Israeli independence and a week away from Lag b’Omer. And in a week from Sunday, the community will gather for the annual Walk for Israel, an inspiring show of unity and solidarity.

We have to admit, as much as we value these important memorial and celebratory days, we’re looking forward to the quieter weeks of summer, before the stress of the ‘real’ High Holidays starts up again!

What’s your opinion of this rebranding? Is it disrespectful of the High Holidays, or a thoughtful reapplication?

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