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Yom Hazikaron / Yom Haatzmaut

This week was filled with many different emotions. Our sadness and heartbreak from Yom Hazikaron was uplifted by the celebration of Israel's 69th birthday. 

Last Thursday morning, we went to Har Herzl to prepare for the meaningful week that was to come. We were able to hear about the incredible lives of some of the world's greatest leaders, such as Yitzchak Rabin and Golda Meir, and the heroic stories of many soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice in order for us to be able to have Eretz Yisroel. We then heard from Eric, who taught us the importance of hearing from people who were alive during the time of the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948. The organization that he started makes it easier for people to access the stories of the people alive at that time. This Yom Iyyun was just the right thing to get us excited for our Shabbat Tziyonut in Efrat. 

For Shabbat, we were all set up at families in Efrat who made Aliyah. Hearing many different Aliyah stories changed our perspectives on a lot of things. We realized how fortunate we are to have the State of Israel in a time where we can live here freely and how actually moving here pays testament to our appreciation. 

Sunday evening we went to Raanana for a tekes (ceremony) that helped prepare us for an inspirational Yom HaZikaron. This program memorialized many victims of terror, such as Ezra Schwartz, z"l. Even though these incredible people are no longer with us, their memory lives on and their impact is still ever-present. On Monday morning, A soldier came to explain to us that the Tzfira (siren) we were about to hear at Har Herzl, in honor of the 23,544 who perished, was more than just a minute of silence. It was a moment in which the entire country connected and united as a whole. After the siren, we had the opportunity to go around Har Herzl and speak to the families' of many heroes. Among these was Michael Levin's family. Michael Levin, z"l, was an American boy who died at age 22 during the Second Lebanon War as a paratrooper for the IDF. Hearing his family speak about the amazing hero that he was and the impact he had on all those who knew him left many of Midreshet Moriah's students in awe. 

On Tuesday we celebrated Israel's 69th birthday. We started off our day at Ammunition Hill. Tents were placed throughout the site and each tent station explained a type of tool used in the Israeli army. Soldiers were assigned to each station and explained the purpose of the equipment. We had the opportunity to ask them questions about their experiences in the army. Afterward, we headed to Moshav Aminadav where we had a chagigah. We all immediately began dancing when a live band started playing our favorite Hebrew songs. We had big barbecue for lunch and a large Israeli flag cake for dessert. Many girls enjoyed the outdoors and were throwing the football around, having baseball catches, or just tanning in the sun. This was followed by a kumsitz. Later, Sepha held our last Aliyah panel with Bracha and Rav Eitan's family. Their kids each gave input on what it was like for them to make Aliyah and their transition into their new culture and environment. 

Shabbat Shalom! 

Tamar Shoen, Dana Schwartzstein, Rebecca Schwartz


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