Independence Day: Here's how Jewish communities around the world are celebrating

Jewish communities around the globe have created events for Yom Ha'zikaron and are beginning to celebrate Independence Day.

Bnei Ephraim synagogue was painted in honor of Yom Ha'atzmaut. (photo credit: OHR TORAH STONE)
Bnei Ephraim synagogue was painted in honor of Yom Ha'atzmaut.
(photo credit: OHR TORAH STONE)

In India, a small hut that has been turned into a synagogue was painted on Wednesday in honor of Independence Day.

Rabbi Yehoshua Yaakobi, an emissary on behalf of Or Torah Stone of the Strauss Amiel and the Brit Olam organization to the Bnei Ephraim communities in southern India, told The Jerusalem Post: "There are a total of some 20 congregations with approximately 1000 members that live as Jews, under our guidance."

On Tuesday we marked a day of remembrance with special prayers for Remembrance Day, candles were lit to lift the spirits of IDF soldiers and victims of hostilities. In addition, we stood for two minutes of silence in the evening and during Yom Hazikaron on Wednesday, as is done in Israel."

"We painted the outside of our synagogue so that the name of our community will be shown in Hebrew. In addition, we drew stars-of-David on the walls surrounding the synagogue," he said. 

A few hours before Independence Day began in Israel, special prayers for Independence Day and celebrations with holiday meals took place in the Bnei Ephraim communities. "On Thursday, in most of our congregations there will be a festive meal with Israeli food, special classes by rabbis, and of course, the Israeli flag will be raised, classes will be given by rabbis and of course, we'll be having special meals with Israeli food."

A small hut that has been turned into a synagogue was painted on Wednesday in honor of Yom Ha'atzmaut (credit: OHR TORAH STONE)A small hut that has been turned into a synagogue was painted on Wednesday in honor of Yom Ha'atzmaut (credit: OHR TORAH STONE)

Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael-Jewish National Fund sent young emissaries from Israel to Jewish communities around the world where they will be creating activities for people of all ages. The emissaries have been sent to Switzerland, Austria, Uruguay, Peru, Mexico, Argentina and South Africa by the Department of Jewish Identity in the Diaspora in KKL-JNF.

"These special days of transition from Yom Hazikaron to Yom Ha'atzmaut, the days of remembrance and independence must also be reflected in the Jewish communities in the Diaspora," Sar-Shalom Jerby, Director of the Education and Community Division at the JNF said. 

"That is why we operate the JNF emissaries as part of the 'Educational Caravan Patrol', which provides Zionist education activities in schools, kindergartens and communities, which Israel is very close to, despite their physical distance," Jerby added.

"This is our third year in Scotland yet the first Yom Ha'atzmaut that we are able to celebrate in person due to the pandemic," Hodaya Lemberger OTS emissary to Glasgow's, Scotland Jewish community told the Post.

"At school, we celebrated Independence Day with a ceremony that included songs, presentations about Israel and various activities. On Wednesday evening we will celebrate a transit ceremony at the community synagogue." On Thursday we are going on a hike with students on one of the mountains, in the atmosphere of Independence Day, prayer and an Israeli breakfast."

One of the events they organized will host a party for college students at their home "with Israeli whiskey, Israeli songs, and of course a barbeque," She said.

The JCC Association, the umbrella organization for JCCs in North America, has created a platform titled "From Commemoration to Celebration" to mark the events. 

 ''From Commemoration to Celebration'' events run by JCC.  (credit: JCAA) ''From Commemoration to Celebration'' events run by JCC. (credit: JCAA)