We all love to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day, and last Tuesday evening at The Moriah School’s second annual Yom Ha’atzmaut program, celebrate we certainly did. The event started at 5:30, and it was an evening full of fun and engaging activities that connected us all to Israel. The program included a spectacular laser light show, which was nothing short of remarkable. The laser lights were aimed on a white screen and ceiling that wowed everyone along with the music, a mix of English and Hebrew songs. Each year the Yom Ha’atzmaut committee aims to make it better and better.
The idea of the event came from Yael Weintraub, a Moriah parent, who had a desire to have a school-wide event that would bring a sense of unity and spirit to Moriah. According to Yael, “celebrating Israel with our faculty and parent body seemed like the perfect way to achieve that goal.” Weintraub is Israeli born and truly feels “that regardless of our religious ideologies, the one thing we can all feel strongly about is the importance of celebrating Israel’s existence as a state.”
While last year’s theme focused on technology in Israel, this year’s theme was a trip around Israel. Upon arrival all children were given an activity card, which was a map of Israel with the different places to “visit.” Each activity station gave the kids a way to experience a different place in Israel. In a sense we brought the tastes, smells, sounds and feeling of Israel alive. Activities included an archeological dig where kids sifted through shredded paper to find artifacts and fishing in the Kinneret, where the kids used fishing rods to pick up magnetic fish. There was also face painting, a climb-Masada inflatable and art projects with wood hamsa key chains and ornaments. Lila Yahalom, a Moriah Pre-K student, raved about the event: “It was so fun, and my favorite part was drawing the hands [hamsas].” Many eighth-grade students volunteered to run the booths as well as the wonderful Moriah schlichot. There was also a plentiful buffet dinner complete with shwarma, schnitzel, Israeli salad, pita, hummus and more.
Elana Dushey, a Moriah parent, thought this “was a great way for kids to associate fun and good times with Israel.”
A very special part of the program was when all the families congregated in the auditorium for Hatikvah, and a daglanut dance performed by Moriah fifth graders, followed by the laser light show! “The program was fun and meaningful and brought the Moriah community together to celebrate this incredibly important day,” said Rabbi Alter, head of school.
Each year there is a chesed opportunity for students and parents to participate in, and this year Leket was present at the event. They had an activity station with a representative explaining this great charity, which collects the surplus of nutritious foods and produce from around Israel and delivers it to those who need it. Each child was encouraged to create an arts and crafts project with fruit stickers, and the Leket representative explained to the children and parents how Leket assists in bringing these important food groups all over Israel and how we can get involved and help.
Moriah students also wrote postcards to the Israeli soldiers, thanking them for protecting Israel, and giving words of encouragement such as “you are brave and courageous” and “we support and love you.” The Friends of IDF will be taking the postcards to Israel to distribute to the soldiers.
For dessert, the doughnut wall was a big hit! A pegboard wall of 200 blue and white doughnuts was displayed as an Israeli flag and the doughnuts were edible and delicious as well as parve and nut free, thanks to Butterflake! All in all the night was a huge success and exhibited how much Moriah families love and support Israel and share in the celebration of Yom Haatzmaut even from so many thousands of miles away.
When speaking with Yael after the event she reiterated how thankful she is to all the women on the committee for their hard work and dedication to making this event successful. Also everyone is so thankful to the charitable donors who gave very generously to make this free event happen. Thanks to the wonderful Moriah staff who helped behind the scenes. “By showing our children that we have Jewish and Israeli pride we allow them to venture into a world armed with the knowledge of who they are and what they stand for. I hope they all feel a strong connection and loyalty to Israel,” Weintraub said. “I want them to remember celebrating Israel with their parents and teachers and look forward to this program every year.”
By Kellita Weber