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Religious School Celebrates Israeli Independence

Students at Temple Beth Elohim write personal notes that made their way to the Western Wall.

Religious school students of have had a busy year, most recently celebrating , the day designated as Israel's
Independence Day.

The celebration signifies a very important day in history when the Jewish homeland became the State of Israel in 1948.

Led by the students began the celebration recently
with songs about Israel, opening with "Kachol V'Lavan." The song exclaims that the colors kachol (Hebrew for blue) and lavan (Hebrew for white) are the colors of the our land (Israel) and shall remain so forever.

The musical component concluded with the singing of "Hatikvah" (meaning "The Hope,") Israel's National Anthem.

Children also had the opportunity to make delicious Israeli falafel sandwiches, made of chickpeas and spices,and known as a favorite taste of the Middle East.

The students viewed an informative presentation designed and led by our 6th grade teacher, Rachel Weinberg. They learned about the birth of Israel through the leadership of David Ben Gurion, Israel's first Prime Minister. On May 14, 1948 Ben-Gurion declared, "The establishment of a Jewish State in Eretz Yisrael is to be known as the State of Israel."

He went on to say that the new nation would "uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens, without distinction of religion or race."

Any visit to Israel would not be complete without a visit to the Kotel, the
Western Wall. While not an actual part of the ancient Temple in Jerusalem,
the Kotel is part of the the retaining wall which made up the base upon which the Temple was constructed.

It is considered by many Jews to be Israel's holiest site because it is the closest place a Jew can stand to where the Temple stood without going onto the Temple Mount. Following the presentation by Ms. Weinberg, the students proceeded to our all-purpose room to build their own "Western Wall." The children, as one community, mounted box after box, simulating the Wall in Jerusalem.

There is a custom in Israel of placing personal notes into the spaces between the bricks of the Kotel. These notes can express virtually anything, from individual prayers, to hopes and dreams. Emulating this practice, the students composed their own notes which were placed into the actual Kotel in Jerusalem by one of our Religious School teachers who recently traveled to Israel.

Everyone one who participated in the Yom Ha'atzmaut celebration at Temple
Beth Elohim enjoyed the experience, and the students certainly shared the
joy and solidarity with the State of Israel, our Jewish homeland.

Temple Beth Elohim is a Reform congregation serving the Plainview - Old Bethpage and surrounding communities since 1955.



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