Here’s how New York City is celebrating Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day


(New York Jewish Week) — Happy birthday to the state of Israel, which celebrates the 75th anniversary of its founding this week. Despite the tension surrounding the Israeli government’s proposed judicial overhaul, a host of New York Jewish institutions are feteing this major milestone. 

Beginning Monday evening, Israeli and Jewish communities around the world will mourn and honor fallen IDF soldiers as part of Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s memorial day. After a transitional ceremony in the evening, where the mood shifts from somber to celebratory, communities will begin to celebrate Yom Haatzmaut, or Israeli Independence Day

(These holidays both follow the Hebrew calendar, and are marked each year on the 4th and 5th of Iyar. This year, Yom Hazikaron begins tonight, followed by Yom Haaztmaut on Tuesday night. In 1948, the day of Israel’s founding corresponded with May 14.) 

From nightclubs to comedy shows to prayer services, read on for the ways in which New Yorkers are honoring these special days.   

April 24

Yom Hazikaron Memorial at the Streicker Center

The Streicker Center at Temple Emanu-El and The Consulate General of Israel are holding a Yom Hazikaron memorial service on Monday that will honor “the soldiers who gave their lives in defense of the State of Israel and the victims of terrorist attacks.” The free, public service will take place at the Streicker Center (1 East 65th St.) at 6:00 p.m. Registration required.

April 25

A Conversation with Olympian AJ Edelman at Temple Shaaray Tefila

The captain of the Israeli bobsled team and a member of the Israeli Olympic team in 2018, AJ Edelman will join Rabbi Jill Ruben for an evening of conversation at 6:30 p.m. at Shaaray Tefila (250 East 79th St.). The bobsled that’s used by the team will be on display. The in-person event is free and open to the public. RSVP here.

Panel Discussion: A Celebration of Israeli Movies & Television

Congregation Rodeph Sholom and Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan are partnering to host an evening of snacks and discussion. The panel discussion will include Israeli actors Hani Furstenberg (“Campfire,” “Asylum City” and “The Golem”) and Alon Aboutboul (“Beaufort,” “Ricochet” and “The Dark Night”). Isaac Zablocki, senior director of the Carole Zabar Center for Film at the JCC Manhattan, will host. Schmooze begins at 6:15 p.m., and the discussion begins at 7:00 p.m. at Congregation Rodeph Sholom (7 West 83rd St.). Tickets start at $18; register here

Israel Independence Program with Manhattan Jewish Experience

To mark both Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut, the Manhattan Jewish Experience (131 West 86th St.) will begin the evening commemorating fallen Israel Defense Forces soldiers with speeches from IDF soldiers and Rabbi Mark Wildes. After a Tekes Maavar, or transition, ceremony with songs and prayers, the night will turn into an “Israeli Shuk Party” with live music, falafel, dessert and cocktails. The evening begins at 7:00 p.m., tickets from $10. Register here.

April 26

Israeli Folk Dance at 92NY

Join 92NY and Ruth Goodman, director of the Israeli Dance Institute, for an open session of Israeli folk dancing and fun at the Upper East Side community center (1395 Lexington Ave.). The dancing sessions take place every Wednesday at 8:15. p.m. Tickets are $15 per session. Find more information and buy tickets here.

Yom Haatzmaut at Nebula

On Wednesday night, join nightlife events company J-Vibe at the NYC nightclub Nebula (135 West 41st St.) for a night of Israeli DJs, house music and dancing to celebrate Yom Haatzmaut. Doors open at 10 p.m., tickets start at $18. Find more information here.

April 27

Yom Haatzmaut Comedy Night: Israel 75 Live with Joel Chasnoff and Benji Lovitt

On Thursday, join Stephen Wise Free Synagogue (3 West 68th St.) for a night of lighthearted comedy about Israel featuring Israeli-American comedians Joel Chasnoff and Benji Lovitt, co-authors of “Israel 201.” The two-hour comedy show begins at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 for college students and $18 general admission. Find more information here.

April 30

Israel at 75 Birthday Party on the Upper East Side

On Sunday, Park Avenue Synagogue, Central Synagogue and 92NY will co-host a birthday party for Israel featuring games, music and food from Israeli restaurants. The event, open to all and ideal for families with young children, will take place from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Park Avenue Synagogue (50 E 87th St.). Tickets from $18, register here.