The secular-religious Midrasha Ein Prat, a post-military Jewish studies academy in the Judean Desert, announced an initiative on Tuesday to add a new holiday to the Jewish calendar: “Ten Days of Thanks.”
Beginning on Holocaust Remembrance Day and ending 10 days later on Independence Day, Ten Days of Thanks would correspond to the Ten Days of Repentance – the period between Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur that, according to Jewish tradition, enables human beings to develop their relationship with God. The new holiday aims to emulate this tradition with a “secular” period to develop the relationship between Israelis and the State of Israel, as well as to highlight the significance of these historically important days.
“The purpose of Ten Days of Thanks is to recall for only a few days the abnormality of our existence here and feel again the wonder of our existence that is fading from our minds,” Midrasha students said in a statement Tuesday.
The initiators of the holiday said they were “referring to ‘Israeli secular’ dates [Holocaust Remembrance Day, Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars, and Independence Day] that were added to the Jewish calendar after the establishment of the Jewish state and [that] have become an integral part of the calendar. The importance of these dates to the public does not fall short of ‘religious’ dates that are an integral part of Israeli tradition.”
As part of the initiative, the academy and its students will devote this period to studying texts relating to Israel’s achievements as a state.
“We see this period as a day of personal and national reckoning – days of gratitude and giving thanks,” they said.
On Tuesday, the students set up huge slabs on Tel Aviv’s Rothschild Boulevard, at Jerusalem’s Central Bus Station and at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Beersheba, on which they asked the public to write down things for which they were grateful.