April 29, 2009
Yom Ha’atzmaut is the celebration of Israel’s independence on the 5th day of the month of Iyar. It commemorates the declaration of statehood (May 14th 1948). The rebirth of the Land of Israel marked the first time in 1900 years that the Jewish people had a free and independent homeland. On the 5th of Iyar, Israel celebrates her independence with joyous festivities. Jewish people around the world join in the anniversary celebrations with their own community celebrations.
In Israel Yom Ha'atzmaut is a national holiday. Government offices, banks, educational institutions, and most commercial establishments are closed for the day. In the synagogues Yom Ha'atzmaut is marked with the recital of the Hallel prayer (Palms of Praise), and around the country the Israeli government and local municipalities conduct official ceremonies. Yom Ha'atzmaut is concluded with the ceremony of granting the "Israel Prize" recognizing individual Israelis for their unique contribution to the country's culture, science, arts, and the humanities.
Happy Israel Independence Day...61 years and counting!