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We feel fortunate that we share a rich heritage, a vital Jewish community life, and a promising future. Our congregation reflects the diversity of today's society - we invite you to share in our warm, informal approach to Reform Judaism
Friday Shabbat services generally begin at 7:30 pm.
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During this season, we observe four holidays that have been added to the Jewish calendar in modern times: Yom Hashoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), Yom Hazikaron (Israel Memorial Day), Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israeli Independence Day), and Yom Yerushelayim (Jerusalem Day).
On Yom Hashoah, we remember and honor the heroes and martyrs of the Holocaust. The word shoah means catastrophe or utter destruction. The word holocaust stems from the Greek, meaning “sacrifice by fire.” The day is observed by lighting candles and attending worship services and programs featuring survivors. In Israel, the holiday starts on the eve before with the sounding of sirens; everything comes to a halt and people throughout the country stand at attention for two minutes. The sirens are again sounded at 11 AM the following morning, and theatres, pubs, and other venues of entertainment are closed. The Israeli educational system focusses on heroes who resisted the Nazis, such as those of the Warsaw ghetto uprising.
On Yom Hazikaron, we remember those soldiers who died fighting for Israel. The holiday starts in the evening at the Western Wall. The flag is lowered to half-staff and a siren is sounded, at which time everything in Israel, including traffic, comes to a halt as people throughout the country stand at attention. The sirens are again sounded at 11 AM the following morning. During the holiday, places of entertainment are closed and radio and TV stations present special programs. At the close of the day, the flag is returned to full staff with a ceremony at the military cemetery on Mount Hertzl.
Yom Ha’atzmaut starts at the close of Yom Hazikaron, thus linking the independence celebration with the remembrance of those who fought and died for Israel. After the raising of the flag on Mount Hertzl at the close of Yom Hazikaron, there is a military parade, and twelve torches, representing the twelve tribes of Israel, are lit. On the eve of the holiday, there are celebrations, parties, fireworks, barbeques, and dances. During the day, families visit parks, nature preserves, museums, and military bases. Teens compete in a Torah championship.
Yom Yerushelayim celebrates the reunification of Jerusalem during the Six Day War in 1967 – the city had been divided after the 1948 War of Independence. The year 1967 marked the first time the entire city was under Jewish control since its fall to the Romans in the year 70 CE. During the day, people march through the Old City toward the Western Wall, where there are ceremonies, concerts, and dancing.
Sources: Jewish Virtual Library, ReformJudaism.org, Wikipedia