Baltimore marks Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut

Beth Tfiloh 2019 Yom Ha'atzmaut event
Beth Tfiloh celebrates Yom Ha’atzmaut at an event in 2019 (Courtesy of Beth Tfiloh Congregation).

Synagogues and other Jewish organizations in the Baltimore area are preparing to both honor Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror and celebrate the birth of the Jewish nation through events commemorating Yom HaZikaron and celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut.

The Baltimore Zionist District is partnering with over half a dozen groups to organize a Yom HaZikaron ceremony on April 13 at 8 p.m., while both Beth Tfiloh Congregation and Har Sinai-Oheb Shalom Congregation are planning Yom Ha’atzmaut events on April 14 and 18, respectively.

For the Yom HaZikaron ceremony, BZD is partnering with Chizuk Amuno Congregation, Beth El Congregation of Baltimore, Beth Tfiloh and the JCC of Greater Baltimore, said Caren Leven, the BZD’s executive director. The ceremony will include a moment of silence, a Yizkor ceremony in Hebrew led by Elad Strohmeyer of the Israeli Embassy and addresses from local religious leaders Rabbi Joshua Z. Gruenberg of Chizuk Amuno and Rabbi Chai Posner of Beth Tfiloh.

“We really wanted it to be an inclusive community event,” said Leven, adding that the group “wanted it to mirror Yom HaZikaron ceremonies in Israel.”

Leven said she hoped the ceremony would “bring the Baltimore community together in a way that would help commemorate and memorialize Israel’s IDF soldiers and Israel’s victims of terror, for this year and years past.”

Beth Tfiloh’s Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration will include in-person and online components. The first half will take place at the Beth Tfiloh parking lot at 6:10 p.m. on April 14. It will include a traditional service, part of which will be led by Mordy Weinstein of the Jewish a cappella group Six13, said Cherie Brownstein, Beth Tfiloh’s synagogue program director.

The program will also include activities for children, including writing and sending decorated letters to soldiers in the IDF’s Kedem battalion, which focuses on search and rescue missions.

Participants are asked to wear masks and maintain proper social distancing.

The in-person event will end at 7:30 p.m., Brownstein explained, so that participants can return home for the second part of the event that will be held over Zoom at 8 p.m. Beth Tfiloh’s Rabbi Mitchell Wohlberg will moderate an interview with two stars of the Israeli television series “Fauda.”

On April 18 at 11:30 a.m., Har Sinai-Oheb Shalom will hold a family tie-dye event on the synagogue’s front lawn, according to Lindsay Gaister Montague, youth and teen engagement specialist. Participants are asked to stay in their family pods. Tie-dye expert Nicole Butter Fribush will demonstrate techniques. Michael Pachino, also known as DJ Mike on the Mic, will provide Israeli music, and Two Bold Chefs Food Truck will sell kosher Mediterranean food.

“This event is a great way of bringing people back together to see each other in a safe, socially distant, fun way and to celebrate Israel’s independence,” Gaister Montague said. “We hope that by putting on this event, our members and members of the community are able to feel their immense pride in Israel, immense pride in the Baltimore Jewish community, a connection to our Jewish homeland and a continued connection to one another.”

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