If you haven’t met us yet, Shalom! We are Colorado’s shinshinim, your young Israeli Emissaries Itay, Yoav, Noa, and Yali, and we have been here for nine months now, educating about Israel in Jewish institutions all over Colorado. And even though we fell in love with Colorado—the amazing views, the people and even the snow—this is our favorite time of the year because it’s the week of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day.
This week, our home, Israel, is the life of the party. There are festivals and concerts, fireworks, an amazing ceremony that would leave you speechless, BBQ and the best vibes ever! And even though it’s a little different here in Colorado, it’s still special, and we really appreciate that our special day is being celebrated and appreciated among the Jewish community in Colorado.
One of the main things we’ve learned while we’ve been living in Colorado is that, unlike in Israel, where Judaism is practiced in the public sphere, here in America, practicing Judaism is a choice. It’s a choice people make every time they meet us at Jewish Student Connection, at BBYO, at Jewish Explorers, or at one of the religious schools we work in. We have learned to appreciate that people make this choice deliberately, over and over again, and while we try explain how things are different in Israel, we know that we are also similar in many ways.
And when you choose to Celebrate Israel? That is a choice that we appreciate the most—and it’s something that we share with you.
Israel is the home of the Jewish people, and that connection started with Abraham following God into the unknown; it continued with Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt; it was followed by the construction of the two Temples and continued all the way through the establishment of Israel as a Jewish state in 1948.
Today, not all Jewish people live in Israel, and that’s understandable, but the choice you make to Celebrateour country from across the globe… we don’t take that for granted.
We know that as time passes, Jews and others who live outside of Israel may feel disconnected or less connected to the State of Israel than older generations—which is why we feel so lucky. Lucky to get to talk about our home every single day, lucky to be able to show people the complicated puzzle that makes up Israeli culture, and so, so lucky to get all of the positive feedback from you and to see this community come to a new understanding of Israel. We feel like we’re making a real change, and we hope you do to.
Now, on the eve of Yom Ha’atzmaut, we invite you to make a choice. Choose to Celebrate Israel with us on Sunday, May 1, starting at 9:00 am at the JCC Denver.
We are all connected to each other and, now, we are all connected to Israel, no matter where in the world we are. Please join us to sing and dance and walk and celebrate the amazing accomplishments of Jewish State over the past 74 years.
— Itay, Yoav, Noa & Yali