Below is a collection of lesson plans, videos, and articles created by The Lookstein Center staff or contributed to the site by Jewish educators, celebrating Israel at 75.
Yom HaAtzmaut Holiday Overview
- What: Yom HaAtzmaut is the official Israeli Independence Day, celebrating the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948.
- Where: Yom HaAtzmaut is an Israeli national holiday but is recognized and celebrated by Jews around the world.
- When: On the Hebrew calendar, its official date is the 5th of Iyyar. This year, Yom HaAtzmaut celebrates the 75th anniversary of Israel’s statehood!
- How: In Israel, Yom HaAtzmaut starts off with a Tekes Ma’avar (transitional ceremony) from Yom HaZikaron. Many in and outside of Israel will participate in a celebratory prayer service that evening and the following morning, during which Hallel is often recited. Yom HaAtzmaut is a day off for Israelis and many people celebrate it with parties, gatherings, and BBQs with friends and family.
Yom HaAtzmaut Vocabulary
Anthem (referring to Israel’s national anthem, the Hatikvah)
Hebrew for “flag dance.” An intricate flag dance is performed every year at Israel’s official Tekes Ma’avar.
|Al ha’aish, mangal||
Hebrew names for “barbeque” which is the Israeli meal of choice on Independence day.
על האש, מנגל
The ceremony that takes place as a transition between Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut.
Celebratory prayer (prayers on Yom HaAtzmaut are usually sung in a celebratory fashion and the Hallel prayer is often included).
The War of Independence. This war took place immediately after the State of Israel was declared in 1948.
Yom HaAtzmaut Educational Themes
- Secular vs. Religious Zionism
- How to relate to Israel as Diaspora Jews
- Gratitude and remembrance of the fallen before celebrating in the present
- Modern miracles
Ideas for Celebration
- Eat Israeli-style cuisine, such as falafel, shwarma, shakshuka, couscous, israeli salad, pita, lafa, humus
- Flag dancing (coordinated dances with the Israeli flag)
- Listen to Israeli songs
- Host an Israeli-style barbeque in the park
- Have a tefilla chagigit (celebratory prayer service in honor of Yom HaAtzmaut)
RESOURCES AND ACTIVITIES
A State Is Born – This online lesson for upper elementary-school students reviews the history of Israel’s establishment in an interactive way. By The Lookstein Center.
Curate and Create – This Yom HaAtzmaut program from the National Library of Israel includes educator resources, lesson plans, a creative competition for students, and more.
Zionism Revisited – This educational series from Unpacked includes videos, lesson plans, curricular guides, and more.
The Jewish Agency – These resources for Israel at 75 include content packs for educators and activities for all ages.
Israeli Stamps Activity – This booklet in simple Hebrew teaches elementary students about Israeli stamps and letter writing and can easily be adapted in a virtual classroom. Written by The Lookstein Center-Instituto Bruckner.
Israeli Ministry of Education – These English resources include lesson plans, songs, games, vocabulary, and more.
PJ Library – These resources for younger students include books, videos, Israeli recipes, and more.
The National Library of Israel – These lesson plans include primary sources and activity packs.
Aish – These resources include many articles and explanatory videos.
The Israel Forever Foundation – These comprehensive resources include many activities for students of all ages.
Israel Bytes by Ji Bytes – These short interactive activities engage elementary-school students in Israel’s history and culture.
Between Sadness and Happiness – This lesson plan from Olam Shalem explores the connection between the days of Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut and the emotions they provoke.
The Challenge of Teaching Modern Israel – This article from The Lookstein Center’s journal, Jewish Educational Leadership, explores a new approach to Israel education.
Teaching Israel, Teaching Truth: A Personal View from the Front – This article from The Lookstein Center’s journal, Jewish Educational Leadership, discusses the importance of teaching about Israel from a place of honesty.
Megillat HaAtzmaut: Analysis and Comparative Analysis – This article analyzes and explores the Israeli Declaration of Independence.
State and Religion – This article explores the connections that should and should not exist between the State of Israel and religion.
Israel Independence Day and the Halakha – This article analyzes the different halakhic contexts for celebrating Yom HaAtzmaut in different ways.
Perspectives: The Shalom Hartman Institute – This collection of articles for Israel at 75 includes a range of voices on pertinent topics related to Israel today.
VIDEOS and songs
Declaration of Independence – This video shows live footage of David Ben-Gurion declaring Israel’s independence (English subtitles).
Weird Ways Israel Won Its War of Independence – This video from Unpacked explores the unconventional military strategies utilized by the Israeli army in the War of Independence.
What is Yom HaAtzamaut? – This video from Bimbam gives an overview of the holiday, its history, and its traditions.
How the State of Israel was Born – This animated video tells the story of Israeli independence.
Israeli Independence Day Songs – This playlist of Hebrew songs includes many popular songs used in Yom HaAtzmaut celebrations.
Koolulam – Al Kol Eleh – This collaborative singing initiative video includes a tribute to Israel for Yom HaAtzmaut.
Hebrew Kids Spotify Playlist – This playlist of songs can help set the mood for a Yom HaAtzmaut celebration.
Megilat HaAtzmaut – This song by the Maccabeats includes words from Israel’s Proclamation of Independence.
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