The cover of the JT on Dec. 5, 1947, proclaimed “Hail, Hail to the New Judea” in celebration of the U.N. partitioning land for a Jewish state. While a lot of trials and tribulations were ahead for the small but ultimately mighty country, the world was forever changed.
As we mark Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israeli Independence Day, on April 18, the community celebrates Israel at 70. Although it wasn’t until May 14, 1948, that David Ben-Gurion declared the establishment of Israel, community celebrations kick off in the coming days in keeping with the anniversary’s date on the Hebrew calendar.
To mark the occasion, JT reporters have assembled a package of stories that should make Israel seem a little less far away. Andy Belt dove into the JT archives to capture the feeling at home and abroad surrounding the creation of Israel and rounded up the variety of ways the community is celebrating. In addition to the communitywide event at Beth Tfiloh on April 18 and the Howard County community celebration at Temple Isaiah on May 6, there are food- and beer-based events, lectures about Israeli politics and BDS, and family-friendly events as well. Andy also spoke with Israeli technology companies with offices in Maryland to discuss what makes Israel the “startup nation” and why Maryland has been so welcoming to these businesses.
Susan C. Ingram chronicles Baltimore’s sister-city partnerships with Israel, from Ir Ganim in the 1980s to today’s partnership with Ashkelon. As you’ll read, these partnerships not only connect the Diaspora, but allow American Jews to help support and bolster the lives of Israelis.
And Connor Graham profiles six Baltimoreans who the community can count as tireless advocates of the Jewish state. From rescuing Ethiopian Jews to helping Soviet Jews immigrate to Israel, these individuals have been champions of the Jewish homeland.
The week’s Voices section also features two takes on the Jewish state — an assessment from Johns Hopkins University political science professor Robert Freedman on whether Israel has lived up to its promises, and a column from Baltimore Zionist District program manager Sivan Chaban on what her home country means to her.
Keep your eyes on the JT in the coming weeks as we continue our coverage of Israel’s 70th and the various community events surrounding it.
You can also read about a number of other local events coming up in this week’s paper. Susan writes about Sunday’s Yom Hashoah commemoration, a performance of Verdi’s Requiem. Connor previews a town hall meeting U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin will be holding on April 22 at the Gordon Center, as well as this Sunday’s Good Deeds Day, which will see members of the community volunteering all over Baltimore and Howard County.
I hope you’ll join me and the community in wishing Israel a happy birthday!