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Yom Ha'Atzma'ut and Yom HaZikaron

Israel's Independence Day and Memorial Day

Yom HaZikaron, Israeli Memorial Day, for those who have fallen in the defense of the nation, was originally observed only in the State of Israel, but the day has come to be marked in other places as well. In Israel, where there is near-universal military service, the day evokes particularly powerful emotions because almost everyone has had a relative or friend who has died in service to the country. It is observed the day before Israeli Independence Day. 

Yom Ha’Atzma’ut, Israeli Independence Day, is celebrated on the fifth day of Iyar, the day that Israel’s Declaration of Independence was signed in 1948. The day represents the restoration of Jewish sovereignty in the Jewish homeland after a gap of nearly two millennia. Jews outside Israel often observe Yom Ha’Atzma’ut by eating Israeli foods, including humus, pita, olives and falafel. Israeli films, dancing and music are featured, as well as lectures and discussions about Israel.1


  • 1. Adapted from A Guide to Jewish Practice, Volume 2—Shabbat and Holidays. The Guide may be ordered from the Reconstructionist Press.