April 27, 2017
1 Iyyar 5777
Dear AJA Community,
Many of our recent holidays are about looking back with sadness and reflection. This includes Yom HaZikaron, Israel Memorial Day, on 4/30. We will remember the soldiers who gave their lives to build and preserve the freedom of the State of Israel, together with memorializing the victims of terror who gave their lives for Israel.
On Monday, 5/1 at the Northland Drive campus, there will be a ceremony, led by the 8th graders at 8:35 am in the auditorium. We will have a memorial ceremony at 12:45 pm in the Upper School Beit Midrash. Students will read related texts, and El malei rachamim. They will meet Israeli consulate reps and hear from special guest speakers, Gad and Chana Levy, bereaved parents of Shilo Levi z'l - a fallen solider from the helicopter disaster on 1977, who was 21 when he died. (Gad and Chana are also speaking to our 6th - 8th graders tomorrow, 4/28). We encourage all students to wear white uniform shirts and dark bottoms on 5/1 in honor of the day.
At sundown, on 5/1 we look back at the past - and this time we celebrate! It is Yom Ha'atzmaut and we recognize the establishment of the modern state of Israel in 1948 - Israel Independence Day. In Israel, our friends there will take to the streets in celebration as soon as the sun sets. There will be parties, music, fireworks - it is an incredible time. The next day, on the actual holiday, Israelis gather at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem. A ceremony with speeches and a parade of soldiers concludes with the lighting of twelve torches, representing the 12 Tribes of Israel. I wish we could all be there to see it in person.
We will do our best to recreate the joy and celebration of the holiday, here in Atlanta. In keeping with AJA tradition, on Tuesday, 5/2 our 7th grade students will be performing the Daglanut, flag dance, on Yom Haatzmaut for the Northland Campus. Even though parents won’t be in attendance, Rabbi Adam Starr of Young Israel of Toco Hills has offered us a special opportunity. Our students will give a repeat performance at the YITH Yom Haatzmaut celebration, which all parents are welcome to attend.
The YITH celebration begins at 5:00pm and the Daglanut will take place at the beginning of the celebration. We hope to see many of you there!
While I’m on the subject of Israel, I am very happy to introduce you to our newest Shlichim, Matan and Galia Magen. They will be joining us from Israel starting next year to teach at the Lower School. Take a look HERE at the welcome video they created. We are excited about this new addition to our AJA Family, and welcome the Matan, Galia and their three precious daughters to Atlanta.
So many highs and lows and a range of emotions starting this Sunday night - but that is part of the beauty of Judaism. We embrace each other during the sad times and celebrate together when we are able. We look forward to sharing these important days with your children next week.
Rabbi Ari Leubitz