‘The miracle that happened in 1948’
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‘The miracle that happened in 1948’

'One very special day'

How do former North Jersey residents feel about celebrating Israeli Independence Day in the land of Israel? We asked a few to share their thoughts.

“I thank God everyday while I’m walking or driving in Israel that I’m here. But Yom Ha’Atzmaut is that one very special day of the year I take extra time to realize I’m fulfilling Jewish destiny by living in the land of the Jewish people. It’s a dream I waited for all my life, and I am so grateful I had the courage of my convictions to actualize it.”

““ Stuart Pilichowski of Mevasseret Zion
(who made aliyah in 1999 from Fair Lawn)

“Yom Ha’Atzmaut in Israel causes you to realize that this is where the center of the story of the Jewish people is happening. It was nice peeking from the sidelines in New Jersey, but it’s so much better to be the one making history.”

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Chaim and Kayla Kutnicki

““ Chaim Kutnicki of Haifa (2007 from Elmwood Park), pictured with his wife, Kayla, outside of the Interior
Ministry after receiving their Israeli identity cards

“Every year since I made aliyah I have merited to pray on Yom Ha’Atzmaut eve at the Kotel [Western Wall] and say the following two p’sukim [passages] from Tehillim [Psalms]: ‘From HASHEM emanated this; it is wondrous in our eyes. This is the day HASHEM has made; let us rejoice and be glad on it’ (118:23-24, Artscroll translation). I think that says it all.”

““ Zechariah Reich of Ginot
Shomron (2005 from Teaneck)

“Yom Ha’Atzmaut is an emotional day in Israel, coming on the heels of Yom HaZikaron. One genuinely feels the transition from national sadness … to national pride. On erev Yom Ha’Atzmaut, we usually attend the Ra’anana celebration, which draws Israeli musical talent from around the country. Fireworks and festivities go on all night. There is a palpable feeling of happiness on Yom Ha’Atzmaut and we feel grateful to be able to be a part of this.”

““ Shari Mendes of Ra’anana
(2003 from Teaneck)

“As an American, I recall the bicentennial well and do appreciate the privilege to be an American, but the notion of independence in the U.S. is one that people take for granted and is largely not one that is challenged or threatened. Here, mourning the loss of some 24,000 killed in wars and defense of the country, as well as those murdered in terrorist attacks, is an inseparable link to the festivity of Yom Ha’Atzmaut where we celebrate our independence. The first reminds us that we can’t take the second for granted.”

““ Jonathan Feldstein of Efrat
(2004 from Teaneck)

“I remember back in the States the ongoing disputes as to what prayers to say on Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Here in the Land, pretty much everyone understands that we are living a miracle and acts accordingly – at least on this one wonderful day of the year.”

““ Fred Casden of Ma’aleh Adumim (2007 from Teaneck)

“From Teaneck, I felt once removed from modern Jewish history; now I feel a part of it. In Teaneck, we were just a footnote of Jewish history; now we and our children and grandchildren are creating it.”

““ Joel Greenwald of
Tzur Yigal (1993)

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