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Yom HaAtzmaut
The yellow star, football and Maccabi: the legend of Yossef Merimovitch Print E-mail
Tuesday, 10 April 2018

By guest Parsha Points contributor Joshua Halickman, the Sports Rabbi

Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Remembrance Day is when Jewish People around the world bow their heads to remember those who perished throughout Europe during the late 1930s early 1940s. The relationship between the Holocaust and Maccabi Tel Aviv is one that will be forever intertwined due to the colors of the club’s jersey.

Yossef Merimovitch, z”l is personally responsible for the deep ties that Maccabi has with the Holocaust. In 1943, Merimovitch, who at the time was one of the stars in Israel, heard about the atrocities that were going on in Europe and could not remain indifferent. The striker, who had been scoring goals at a tremendous clip for the side that played in blue-and-white understood that the Jews of Europe were forced to wear a Yellow Star in order to differentiate them from the others. He asked that the club add yellow to their uniform in order to stand in unity with their brothers and sisters who were being persecuted. 

The request didn’t fall on deaf ears and from that day on, yellow has been part of Maccabi and the connection between the club and the Holocaust will always remain as one and the same.

Merimovitch began his career as a footballer with Maccabi “Michael”, and immediately impressed the coaches giving him his first start in a Maccabi Tel Aviv kit. Football was always an important part of the Merimovitch household as his older brother, Menachem (Mendele) starred for Maccabi Tel Aviv as well. Menachem represented Israel many times across the ocean and eventually settled in Australia with two other National Team players. Menachem passed away while fighting in the Australian Army at the beginning of World War II.

While his brother was in Australia, Yossele became one of the stars of Israeli football. As a player, Merimovitch won six Championships and six State Cups, a record that still stands. Following his playing career, Merimovitch had plenty of success as a coach winning a title and a State Cup over three different terms with the club. He also led the Israel National Team on two occasions while taking home the Asian Cup once.

While Yom HaShoah is the designated day to remember the six million Jews who perished, fans of Maccabi Tel Aviv are reminded of the Holocaust at each game when the players come out wearing their yellow uniforms.

May the memories of the six million remain on our conscious and may the never be forgotten.

 
The First Yom Haatzmaut (Yom Hamedina-State Day) Print E-mail
Sunday, 08 May 2016

In Honor of Josh Halickman’s Hebrew Birthday 

The first Yom Haatzmaut in 1949 was called Yom Hamedina. The Chief Rabbinate prepared these original directions before the celebration but changed them before they were publicized:

We don’t say Tachnun (supplication prayer) or give eulogies.

At Mincha, before Ashrei a memorial prayer is said for the soldiers who fell. After the Shmoneh Esrei, Hallel is recited without a blessing and the rabbi gives a speech about the importance of the day.

One is supposed to give a lot of Tzedaka like on Purim (Matanot L’Evyonim).

One should eat a festive meal (seudat mitzvah) and between courses recite songs from Yehuda HaLevi and the following chapters from Tehilim (Psalms) 30, 144, 146, 149, 150.

According to Rabbi Shmuel Katz, researcher of the Chief Rabbinate, the Chief Rabbis suggested saying Hallel at Mincha since it was unclear if it would officially be declared a day off from work and they wanted as many people as possible to be able to attend the service. Once it was declared to be an official day off, the recitation of Hallel was moved to the morning.

By asking the community to give Matanot L’Evyonim, the Halachic status of the day was made on par with the rabbinic holidays, Chanuka and Purim.

The Rabbanut did publicly announce that Yom Hamedina would be a break in the mourning of Sefirat HaOmer (similar to Lag B’Omer) and celebrations, weddings and haircuts would be allowed (they got a lot of flack for this statement from the Haredi community).

In the end it was announced that Tachnun would not be recited, Hallel would be said in Shacharit without a bracha, there would be a memorial service for the fallen soldiers and a Mishaberach prayer would be said for the State of Israel. They would have a feast with songs and distribute gifts to the poor.

There were differing opinions of whether or not to say Hallel with a Bracha, many only taking it on after 1967 when Jerusalem was united.

A special prayer service was also established including sections of Lecha Dodi and Shehechiyanu in the evening and sections from the Tfilot of Shabbat, Hallel and a special Haftara in the morning (not everyone agreed with saying Shehechiyanu either. The compromise was that they could wear a new garment and say Shehechiyanu over the garment if they didn’t think that the establishment of the State of Israel was enough of a reason to make the blessing).

Two traditions that seem to have gotten lost are the singing of specific chapters of Tehilim at the meal and the giving of gifts to the poor. As we celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut this week, it would be nice to incorporate these traditions, to make the meal more of a seudat mitzvah, elevating the Bar-b-q that most Israelis have with religious songs as well as to give gifts to the poor to make the holiday one of the happiest days of the year for everyone, especially those who otherwise may not be able to afford to celebrate.

Two years ago, Lucy Levin, a Bat Mitzvah student from New York raised funds to send to Israel to provide gift packages for lone soldiers and victims of terror for Yom Ha’atzmaut. Lucy’s gift packages brightened up the day of children who lost loved ones in terrorist attacks as well as soldiers who are in Israel on their own without any family support.

If you would like to follow in Lucy’s tradition and provide a gift package in honor of Yom Ha’atzmaut for a lone soldier, a child who was a victim of terror, a homebound senior citizen or a border patrol officer please let me know and we will arrange it. Each package is $54 and is tax deductible. http://toratreva.org/Joomla/index.php

 
Declaration of Israeli Independence (Megillat HaAtzmaut) Print E-mail
Friday, 02 May 2014


In Honor of Lucy Levin’s Bat Mitzvah

 

Declaration of Israeli Independence (Megillat HaAtzmaut)

 

Issued at Tel Aviv on May 14, 1948 (5th of lyar, 5708)

 

(1)   The Land of Israel was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and national identity was formed. Here they achieved independence and created a culture of national and universal significance. Here they wrote and gave the Bible to the world.

(2)   Exiled from Palestine, the Jewish people remained faithful to it in all the countries of their dispersion, never ceasing to pray and hope for their return and the restoration of their national freedom.

(3)   Impelled by this historic association, Jews strove throughout the centuries to go back to the land of their fathers and regain their statehood. In recent decades they returned in masses. They reclaimed the wilderness, revived their language, built cities and villages and established a vigorous and ever-growing community, with its own economic and cultural life. They sought peace yet were ever prepared to defend themselves. They brought the blessing of progress to all inhabitants of the country.

(4)   In the year 1897 the First Zionist Congress, inspired by Theodor Herzls vision of the Jewish State, proclaimed the right of the Jewish people to national revival in their own country.

(5)   This right was acknowledged by the Balfour Declaration of November 2, 1917, and re-affirmed by the Mandate of the League of Nations, which gave explicit international recognition to the historic connection of the Jewish people with Palestine and their right to reconstitute their National Home.

(6)   The Nazi holocaust, which engulfed millions of Jews in Europe, proved anew the urgency of the reestablishment of the Jewish State, which would solve the problem of Jewish homelessness by opening the gates to all Jews and lifting the Jewish people to equality in the family of nations.

(7)   The survivors of the European catastrophe, as well as Jews from other lands, proclaiming their right to a life of dignity, freedom and labor, and undeterred by hazards, hardships and obstacles, have tried unceasingly to enter Palestine.

(8)   In the Second World War the Jewish people in Palestine made a full contribution in the struggle of the freedom-loving nations against the Nazi evil. The sacrifices of their soldiers and the efforts of their workers gained them title to rank with the peoples who founded the United Nations.

(9)   On November 29, 1947, the General Assembly of the United Nations adopted a Resolution for the establishment of an independent Jewish State in Palestine, and called upon the inhabitants of the country to take such steps as may be necessary on their part to put the plan into effect.

(10)   This recognition by the United Nations of the right of the Jewish people to establish their independent State may not be revoked. It is, moreover, the self-evident right of the Jewish people to be a nation, as all other nations, in its own sovereign State.

(11)    ACCORDINGLY, WE the members of the National Council, representing the Jewish people in Palestine and the Zionist movement of the world, met together in solemn assembly today, the day of termination of the British mandate for Palestine, by virtue of the natural and historic right of the Jewish people and of the Resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations,

(12)    HEREBY PROCLAIM the establishment of the Jewish State in Palestine, to be called ISRAEL.

(13)    WE HEREBY DECLARE that as from the termination of the Mandate at midnight, this night of the 14th to 15th May, 1948, and until the setting up of the duly elected bodies of a Constituent Assembly not later than the first day of October, 1948, the present National Council shall act as the provisional administration, shall constitute the Provisional Government of the State of Israel.

(14)   THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be open to the immigration of Jews from all countries of their dispersion; will promote the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; will be based on the precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew Prophets; will uphold the full social and political equality of all its citizens, without distinction of race, creed or sex; will guarantee full freedom of conscience, worship, education and culture; will safeguard the sanctity and inviolability of the shrines and Holy Places of all religions; and will dedicate itself to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

(15)    THE STATE OF ISRAEL will be ready to cooperate with the organs and representatives of the United Nations in the implementation of the Resolution of the Assembly of November 29, 1947, and will take steps to bring about the Economic Union over the whole of Palestine.

(16)    We appeal to the United Nations to assist the Jewish people in the building of its State and to admit Israel into the family of nations.

(17)     In the midst of wanton aggression, we yet call upon the Arab inhabitants of the State of Israel to return to the ways of peace and play their part in the development of the State, with full and equal citizenship and due representation in all its bodies and institutions provisional or permanent.

(18)    We offer peace and unity to all the neighboring states and their peoples, and invite them to cooperate with the independent Jewish nation for the common good of all.

(19)   Our call goes out to the Jewish people all over the world to rally to our side in the task of immigration and development and to stand by us in the great struggle for the fulfillment of the dream of generations the redemption of Israel.

(20)    With trust in Almighty G-d we set our hand to this Declaration, at this Session of the Provisional State Council, in the city of Tel Aviv, on this Sabbath eve, the fifth of Iyar, 5708, the fourteenth day of May, 1948.

 

After reading the Megillat HaAtzmaut we realize that the State of Israel is still working on resolving some of the issues that were brought up. There are many critics of Israel (even those who claim to be our friends) who have the problem with the fact that Israel is a Jewish state.

 

Israel is open to immigration of all Jews. However, those Jews who are having trouble proving that they are Jewish will have a hard time getting permission to make aliya or be recognized as Jews when it comes to marriage and burial.

 

Although there is freedom of worship, there are Jewish holy places where Jews are not allowed to pray such as Har HaBayit (The Temple Mount), our holiest site.

 

As we celebrate all of Israel’s accomplishments, we must remember that there is still work to be done to ensure that everything listed in the Megillat HaAtzmaut is fulfilled.

 

Shabbat Shalom and Chag HaAtzmaut Sameach from Yerushalayim!

Sharona Margolin Halickman

 

 

 
A Late Yom HaAtzmaut? Print E-mail
Friday, 12 April 2013

 

In Honor of Israel’s 65th Birthday and Josh Halickman’s 39th Birthday

 

 

Why are we celebrating Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut a day late this year?

 

Usually, the date for Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day for the Fallen Soldiers) is on the 4th of Iyar and Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel’s Independence Day) is on the 5th of Iyar. However, this year, we will be celebrating Yom Hazikaron on the 5th of Iyar and Yom HaAtzmaut on the 6th of Iyar.

 

The reason that the Rabbis changed the dates for this year is because Yom HaZikaron would have fallen out on Saturday night and Sunday and the Rabbis were worried that people would break Shabbat in order to attend memorial ceremonies throughout the country for the fallen soldiers.

 

By having an extra day, families don’t have to worry over Shabbat about whether they will make it to the memorial ceremonies on time.

 

I have a secret for you. If you read the Megilat HaAtzmaut, Israel’s Proclamation of Independence it actually says: “We declare that, with effect from the moment of the termination of the Mandate being tonight, the eve of Sabbath, the 6th Iyar, 5708 (15th May, 1948), until the establishment of the elected, regular authorities of the State in accordance with the Constitution which shall be adopted by the Elected Constituent Assembly not later than the 1st October 1948, the People's Council shall act as a Provisional Council of State, and its executive organ, the People's Administration, shall be the Provisional Government of the Jewish State, to be called "Israel."

 

The State of Israel was declared on Friday afternoon (the 5th of Iyar) so that Shabbat would not be transgressed even though it only officially went into effect on the 6th of Iyar at the termination of the British Mandate.

 

We see from here that just as we did not want Shabbat to be desecrated when the State of Israel was declared, so too we do not want Shabbat desecrated now.

 

 

 
Fulfilling Yishayahu’s Prophecy Print E-mail
Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Parsha Points- Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut 5772

 

Dedicated in Memory of Joey (Yosef Yitzchak) Vogel z”l, a close family friend who passed away this week at the age of 31*

 

 

The Haftara for Yom HaAtzmaut is found in the book of Yishayahu (Isaiah) 10:32-12:6.

 

In this Haftara, we find allusions to the final redemption, the coming of Mashiach.

 

The first two sentences deal with Sennacherib, the King of Assyria who was conquering the Land of Israel. As he was about to conquer Jerusalem, he and his entire army were cut down by the angel of God.

 

The Haftara continues with the prophecies of what will happen in the End of Days. Although B’nai Yisrael were in exile and there was no more Kingdom of David, “the stump of Yishai” will remain and a new leader will emerge. He will usher in the era of peace. B’nai Yisrael will be gathered from the ends of the earth. Even Yehuda and Ephraim who did not get along before will get together and conquer the Land of Israel.

 

The Jews that will return from exile will have an appreciation for having the opportunity to return to the Land and will praise God.

 

The reason that this Haftara was chosen to be read on Yom HaAtzmaut is because we have seen some of these prophecies being fulfilled with the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948 as well as every day since.

 

God has helped us fight our battles, we have returned from exile from the ends of the earth and Israelis of all backgrounds and denominations have put their differences aside in order to fight together in Tzahal (IDF).

 

Those who come on Aliya do appreciate the miracle of having the opportunity to return to the Land and the importance of holding on to it.

 

We say in the prayer for the State of Israel each Shabbat (Avinu Shebashamayim) that the State of Israel is “Reishit Tzmichat Geulatenu”, the first flowerings of our redemption.

 

There are still parts of Yishayahu’s prophecy that have not yet come true especially the psukim referring to ultimate peace on earth: “A wolf will dwell with a lamb and a leopard will lie down with a kid; and a calf, a lion and a fatling together, with a young child leading them…”

 

This Yom HaAtzmaut, as we sing and dance and praise God, let’s pray for the full redemption with true peace in Israel and throughout the world.

 

Shabbat Shalom and Chag HaAtzmaut Sameach from Yerushalayim!

Sharona Margolin Halickman

 

*Contributions to Torat Reva Yerushalayim in Memory of Joey z”l will be used to help provide Torah Study Classes to Jerusalem’s Elderly Population, a cause that was close to Joey’s heart.

 
Why is Yom HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day) Early this Year? Print E-mail
Tuesday, 06 May 2008
Sponsored by Adam Burnat in memory of Ena Sheyna Bat Adam Yehuda and Malka Bat Zvi Mordechai, on their first Yahrzeit.

 

If according to the Hebrew calendar, Yom HaAtzmaut, the fifth of the Hebrew month of Iyar comes out this year on Friday night and Saturday, then why are we celebrating on Wednesday night/Thursday?

The Chief Rabbinate of Israel decided that in order to ensure that no Shabbat desecrations would be caused on account of the commemoration of Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day for the fallen soldiers) and celebrations of YomHaAtzmaut, the holiday should be moved up to Wednesday night/ Thursday.

Rabbi David Atzmon asks how this affects us from a religious perspective.

Should we still say festive prayers and Hallel (prayers of thanksgiving), celebrate with live music and get our hair cut even though it will only be the third of Iyar?

Rav Yaakov Ariel answers that we can’t separate the religious celebrations from the national celebrations. The Halachic side of Yom HaAtzmaut is all about prayer and thanksgiving and if you remove the religious aspect you are just left with commemorations and celebrations but not with a religious holiday.

Rav Tzvi Yehuda Kook explained that making Yom HaAtzmaut early brings about a tremendous amount of Kiddush HaShem, Sanctification of God’s name among the nations.

Besides, Yom HaAtzmaut is also a rare day in Israel where families get a day off from work and school and can do melacha such as travel, have bar-b-ques etc. If it were commemorated on Shabbat we would lose out on this day off!

Enjoy the early Yom HaAtzmaut and remember that the holiday was made earlier in order to unite Israelis of all backgrounds. After all who would argue with getting an extra day off?

 

 
Patience is a Virtue Print E-mail
Wednesday, 18 April 2007

SPONSORED BY THE MARGOLIN AND HALICKMAN FAMILIES IN HONOR OF DR. BERNARD STERN

Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day dates back to the founding of the Modern State of Israel in 1948. In Religious Zionist circles, Yom Ha’Atzmaut is a religious holiday where special prayers including Hallel are recited. According to the Religious Zionists, The state of Israel is considered to be “reishit tzmichat geulatenu”, the first flowering of our redemption, the beginning of the slow process of the geulah (redemption) which is outlined in the Torah.

In Parshat Ekev, God links our inheritance of the land of Israel with our observance of the mitzvoth. In Devarim 11:22-25, we read the words “If you diligently keep the commandment which I am commanding you to perform, to love God, to walk in God’s ways and to cling to God. Then God will expel (vehorish) all of the nations before you and you will inherit nations greater and more powerful than you. Every place that the soul of your foot steps on will be yours, from the wilderness of the Lebanon, from the Euphrates River to the ultimate sea, will be your boundary. No man will stand up to you, fear and awe of you will God place upon the surface of the entire land that you are stepping into as God promised you.”

In Parshat Nitzavim, Devarim 30:4-5 we read about kibbutz galuyot, the ingathering of the exiles: “If your exiled one will be at the edge of the heavens, from there God will gather you and from there will God take you. God will bring you to the land that your forefathers inherited and you will inherit it and God will benefit you and multiply you more than your forefathers”.

Devarim 30:20 concludes “To love God, to obey God and to cling to God; for God is your life and your longevity to live on the soil that God swore to your forefathers, to Avraham, Yitzchak and Yaakov to give them.”

From these Biblical passages we can learn the following:

 

  1. In order to hold on to the land of Israel we must observe the mitzvoth
  2. When the full redemption will occur, our enemies will be cast out of Israel and Israel’s borders will expand
  3. Following the exile, God will bring us back to Israel

  How is this relevant today?


1. There has been a resurgence of mitzvah observance in Israel over the past few years including Israelis who used to identify themselves as ‘secular’ and now identify themselves as ‘chozrim bitshuvah’, newly religious. There are also many Israelis who consider themselves ‘secular’ yet they are standing on the front lines to defend our land and participating in the mitzvah of Yishuv EretzYisrael, settling the land of Israel.

2. The fact that Israel won the war in 1948 and was able to win back much of the land (and even more in 1967) was nothing short of a miracle. Now we have to work on holding on to it.

3.Since 1948 we have truly seen the ingathering of the exiles with Jews making aliya from all over the world. However, we still have to work on how to fully integrate and absorb the immigrants once they get here.

As Yom Ha’Atzmaut approaches, let’s keep in mind the words of Rav Tzvi Yehuda HaCohen Kook: “Patience is not surrender, but the mature recognition that perfection is achieved in gradual changes.”

Rav Kook adds: “The joy and celebration of Israel’s Independence day is the joy of fulfilling the Torah commandment of establishing Jewish sovereignty over the land of Israel.”

Chag Atzmaut Sameach!