Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut: Commemorating the State of Israel at Gann

Our Gann community came together this week to commemorate two significant days on the Jewish calendar – Yom HaZikaron, Israeli Memorial Day, and Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day. These events marked a transition from solemn remembrance to joyful celebration. We mourned fallen soldiers and victims of terror and acknowledged the plight of the hostages, while also celebrating the establishment of the State of Israel.

On Yom HaZikaron, we paid tribute to fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism in Israel through our student-led “tekkes” (ceremony). Throughout the ceremony, students honored the legacy of those who died in service and prayed for the current hostages and their families. Together, students, faculty, and staff expressed gratitude for the bravery and dedication of those who risked their lives for Israel’s safety. Poems, musical performances, and personal stories shared by students allowed us to reflect solemnly on the lives lost, as we read aloud the names of our community’s loved ones who perished.

During the tekkes, we were honored to have Ron Naveh, an IDF veteran of the 2006 Lebanon War, speak to our community. He shared insights into his service and the emotions he experienced following the loss of his aircrew during the war. He also recounted his journey in rescuing IDF soldiers in helicopters upon his return to reserve duty this past October. Ron emphasized the importance of remembering those who have fallen while remaining strong and resilient for the victims and families affected by current conflicts. As the ceremony concluded, gratitude was extended to all who participated in honoring the fallen soldiers, victims of terrorism, and the state of Israel.

The following day, Tuesday, May 14, we celebrated Israeli independence and shared the joy of Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Throughout the day, we acknowledged the profound importance of the State of Israel for the Jewish people. Festivities commenced with a lively celebration in the lobby, followed by our tekkes, which featured presentations on Israel’s history and spirited musical performances and culminated in a school-wide rendition of Hatikvah.

Faculty and students alike joined in the celebration, with our lobby adorned with posters created by our Graphic Design and Digital Photography classes, inspired by Israel’s 76th birthday and students’ aspirations for Israel’s future. Additionally, our AP Chemistry class paid homage to the land of Israel by making ice cream with milk and honey. Lunch featured a falafel bar, accompanied by spirited Israeli folk dancing and Matkot games outdoors. The day underscored the significant impact of Israeli culture on our daily lives and reminded us of the resilience and vitality of the Jewish people.

We extend heartfelt thanks to all the students, faculty, and staff who contributed to commemorating these important holidays in Israeli history. Am Yisrael Chai.

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Aviva Manin

As Director of Community Relations, Aviva Manin leads admissions, marketing, and internal and external community initiatives at Gann Academy.  Before joining

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