The World Zionist Organization (WZO) hosted the third annual celebratory reading of Israel’s Declaration of Independence at the Egalitarian Kotel in Jerusalem on Sunday.
Among those participating were senior leaders from all denominations, from Israel and around the world. Twelve readers, symbolic of the twelve tribes of Israel, read different sections of the Declaration with traditional cantillation (trope). The event closed with a prayer for the Diaspora, the prayer for the welfare of the State of Israel, and Hatikva, Israel's national anthem. The event was organized and hosted by the WZO’s vice chairman, Dr. Yizhar Hess.
"This annual tradition serves to celebrate the Declaration as one of the preeminent Jewish texts of our time, as well as to unify Jews from all backgrounds and from every corner of the world with Israel’s founding document and the values and vision it expresses for the Jewish state," Hess said in a statement after the event ended on Sunday evening. In addition to the hundreds attending in person at the Kotel, the event was broadcasted live to thousands of Jews watching from around the world, including a number of organized communal viewings in both the United States and Europe.
Among those participating in the event were Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi, Labor Party MK Gilad Kariv, CEO of the Rabbinical Assembly of Conservative Judaism Rabbi Jacob Blumenthal, Rabbi Inbar Bluzer Shalem, Rabbi Dr. Avidan Milevsky, Rabbi Noga Brenner-Samia and Union of Reform Judaism vice president for Israel and Reform Zionism Rabbi Josh Weinberg.