Amir Ben Hur, Leeds’ community Shaliach discusses spring’s arrival of Pesach and his own personal reflections on Yom Hashoah, Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut.
Along with spring time comes some of the most exciting and meaningful days for the Jewish people. Capturing the essence of this time of year, Bilha Yaffe, the children’s writer, pieced together a few words to create an iconic tune:
“Oh joy, oh joy! Spring is here, Pesach is around the corner!”
Passover, which commences on the 15th of the month of Nissan, marks the first of the Three Pilgrimage Festivals. It is a time when we get together with family and loved ones for the Passover Seder and celebrate the commemoration of our liberation by God from slavery in ancient Egypt.
This coming together for a celebration of freedom and the reading of the Haggadah is something truly special about our people. Think of it this way – while generations upon generations of other nations scour libraries and historical documents to learn about their ancestors, we follow the biblical quote: “And you shall tell your son on that day…” – meaning, we are obligated to pass on the story of our Exodus to our sons and they to their sons. It is a historical testament to the struggles we faced in fighting for the freedom of our people.
As the UJIA’s community Shaliach, I’m delighted to invite our youth to our pre-Pesach activities being held at The Zone, including arts and crafts and a Seder.
In Israel, the bridge between the Hebrew months of Nissan and Iyar mark a unique and often emotional time for our society. As a grandchild of Polish and Romanian descent, being Israeli born is not something I take for granted.
The establishment of Israel was indeed fuelled by the enhanced international legitimacy and moral grounds that the survivors, who were like firebrands saved from the Nazi furnace, provided.
Yet, it would be wrong to state that Israel was established as a result of the Holocaust. It was thanks to the vision, stamina and persistence in the infrastructure and institution building process by the forefathers and the Jewish inhabitants, that Israel was finally reborn.
With this in mind, please join us for our annual Yom Hashoah community ceremony, taking place on 1st May at 8pm. The following evening, Iby Knill will present a telling of her personal story in an intimate setting.
From my perspective, two of the most conflicting days for our people are Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut. The conflict and mixed emotions regarding these days stem from the fact that they take place consecutively. In Israel, Yom Hazikaron is engraved in peoples’ hearts as a national memorial day for the fallen soldiers of Israel and victims of terrorism.
The saying ‘It’s a small world’, could not describe the tiny land of Israel in a better way. The genuine feeling in Israel is that everyone knows everyone. You can talk to a stranger on the street and within five minutes discover similarities and shared experiences.
Being part of a society, which is shaped by the military, having it serve as a common ground for almost everyone, means we really do keep the IDF and Israel’s safety close to heart. We must remember what important roles our fallen soldiers played and how courageous they were. They had fought and defended Israel and thanks to them, we are able to celebrate our freedom and independence.
Having served in the army myself for three years, I can full heartedly say I now feel even more connected to Yom Hazikaron. It will be quite interesting to experience this day in Leeds, far from my home in Israel and the national feeling of respect and mourning.
The transition between Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut is always accompanied by an odd feeling. Growing up in Israel, being involved in many musical projects, I had the opportunity of performing in many services and ceremonies. Whenever the day would end, my friends and I would have to switch to a different mindset and celebrate Israel’s independence. The gap between the mourning and respect we pay at the beginning of the day and the feeling of excitement and joy we feel that same night is difficult to grasp.
On 8th May UJIA’s Magic Moments delegation from Israel will be delivering programmes in Brodetsky Primary School and Leeds Jewish Free School, before leading the community ceremony in the evening.
But the exciting event of the year awaits us on 9th May! I’d like to invite you all to our Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration. The evening opens at 6.30pm and will include all things Israel, including food, entertainment and activities. Quinta and a Half, the superb a capella group from Israel, will grace the stage at 7.30pm, offering an amazing live show, suitable for all ages. The evening will also include a performance by the Brodetsky school choir and will be hosted by myself.
For more information and venue details regarding all of these events, contact me on email@example.com or call 07809 683 808. You can also find out more through Makor. Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0113 2680 899.