May 10, 2011

Celebrating Israel's 63rd at Hulda Forest and Herzl House

Theodor Herzl, "Visionary of the State," look-alike in
(cardboard) signature beard and top hat
holds his Jewish State, a key text of early Zionism

In Jewish time, each day begins at sunset. So, last night, on the eve of Yom Ha'atzmaut [Hebrew: Independence Day], I joined Yehudit and Yisrael Liman and their two youngest grandchildren and their parents to celebrate the birth of the State of Israel sixty-three years ago, on May 14, 1948. Yehudit, who had decorated cakes with soy-yogurt to spell out the number 63, lit two candles, and recited the ancient Shehecheyanu [Hebrew: who has given us life] blessing.

Blessed are You, Adonai, sovereign of the world, who has kept us alive, sustained us, and brought us to this moment.
Talmud (Berachot 54a)

The next morning, I rode with Gwen and Lloyd Dreilinger to join Havurat Tel Aviv fellows for a traditional holiday barbecue picnic in Hulda Forest. Here, as in many of Israel's national parks, forests, and historic sites, the tour leaders are volunteers doing national service during a "gap year" between high school and compulsory army service. Working under Jewish National Fund direction, they conduct activities that teach about Zionism, nature, and environmental awareness.

In the video (Hebrew), the tour leaders explain the history of Hulda Forest and Herzl House, and impersonate Theodor Herzl (1860-1904), "Visionary of the State."

Watch the video (3:10) minutes.

For more information, visit Hulda Forest and Herzl House by Aviva Bar-Am.

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