The Israeli National Holidays Collection

The Pardes Israeli National Holidays Collection is dedicated to two heroes who lost their lives
defending their people while serving in the Israel Defense Forces:
– Daniel Haas z”l, brother of Pardes staff member Joanne Barth, who was killed during the First Lebanon War.
– Yakir Yamin Hexter z”l”, nephew of Pardes faculty members Michael Hattin and Yaffa Epstein, who was killed in the ongoing war with Hamas. (Listen to Michael Hattin’s shiur dedicated to Yakir)

How does one mark Yom HaZikaron and celebrate Yom Hatzmaut this year given the horrific events of October 7th, the deadly war in Gaza, and the ongoing hostage crisis?

As Jews, we’re no strangers to the challenge of celebrating amid pain and suffering. Holding conflicting emotions simultaneously is at the heart of the Jewish experience. Rabbi Alan Lew put it eloquently, “Joy is a deep release of the soul, and it includes death and pain. Joy is any feeling fully felt, any experience we give our whole being to…Any immersion in the full depth of life can be the source of deep joy.” As we celebrate the gift of Israel this year, we must allow the full magnitude of our emotions to be felt and expressed.

This page is intended to help facilitate that necessary space for us to reflect and process with Pardes faculty Torah and revisiting some of the most fundamental texts and inspiring writings related to Israel and Zionism.

Rabbi Jon Leener
Pardes Faculty

The following selection of Torah passages, essays, and thought pieces on Israel and Zionism have been compiled by Pardes faculty member Rabbi Jon Leener alongside guiding questions to inspire personal reflection and spark meaningful conversation:

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