Yom HaAtzma’ut 2022
With flag ceremonies, plays, singing and dancing, we all put our hearts and souls into the celebration of Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day and 74th birthday. At Bialik, Israel is central to everything we do and students from JK to Grade 8 took the day to enjoy all that Israel, our homeland, means to us. At our school-wide assembly, our Head of School spoke to our community with the following message:
Achar haTzohorayim Tovim LeChulam! Chag Same’ach!
It is a pleasure to speak to everyone today. I hope you have enjoyed the celebrations of Israel’s Independence Day!
As I’ve been thinking about Yom HaAtzma’ut, it occurs to me that it is — in many ways — a holiday of unity for us. Let me explain what I mean:
First of all, this Yom HaAtzma’ut is a time for us to come together as a school community. Here we all are — 1,400 students, 200 teachers and staff, and hundreds more parents, grandparents and other guests, all coming together to mark this wonderful day. We are a diverse community to be sure, but Israel and Zionism is a glue that binds us together.
Second, this is a holiday that connects us to our fellow Jews in Israel and around the world. For hundreds and hundreds of years, Jews lived in many countries and spoke many languages. But wherever they were, and whatever languages they spoke, they all dreamed about how great it would be if they could live in Eretz Yisrael, and how wonderful it would be if Jews had a country of their own there. Then, 74 years ago, an absolutely amazing thing happened. Israel became a country! We still live in many countries and speak different languages, but we now have Hebrew and a homeland — Yisrael — that unites us all. Today, Jews all over the world are celebrating Israel’s birthday — a true Chag L’klal Yisrael.
Lastly, this is a holiday that connects us through time to previous generations of Jews. We Jews have been dreaming about Israel for centuries. Our siddurim have prayers that express our desire to return to Israel and every Pesach seder (as you probably know) ends with the words, “next year in Jerusalem.” Almost 150 years ago, Chayim Nachman Bialik, for whom our wonderful school is named, began writing poems that expressed a love for Eretz Yisrael. About that same time, Jews began dreaming about, and actually settling in, the land of Israel. And just over 60 years ago, the Labour Zionist founders of our school celebrated the establishment of the State of Israel and began the work to start our school just 10 years after Israel achieved independence. So you see, the celebration of Israel connects us to our parents, grandparents, their parents and grandparents and on and on through the years all the way back to the time of Abraham.
Let’s all join together, as a school community, as Am Yisrael, and as the latest generation in the continuing Jewish story, to mark this important milestone.
Happy Birthday, Israel!
Chag Same’ach LeChulam!
Head of School