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Ceremonies /
Independence Day
Indepence Day Ceremony


On the evening of Independence Day, we shall gather together – all family members, or community members and we shall celebrate together.

The holiday of the State of Israel.

The table shall be covered with tablecloths, and shall be adorned with flowers and blue and white dishes.

Seven lights symbolize the

Menorah – the symbol of the state.

Which we shall light in the course of the evening.

Each light shall be lit in honor of one of the ideas that accompany the State in its formation.

Seven types of food items shall be placed on the table.

1. Wine

2. A challah in the shape of David's star

3. Honey

4. Water

5. Olives

6. Oranges or orange juice

7. Fruits of the season.

We invite participants of the event to tell their stories, stories of immigration, settlement and so on, which seem to be appropriate for the contents of this evening. Significant items, such as family heirlooms, may be prepared ahead of time and be placed on the table, while their stories may be told in the course of the evening. The program is modular and may be extended, changed, shortened as you see fit. It is recommended though, that you maintain the scheme of seven candles.

Opening the Ceremony

Pour the First Cup and Recite:

We shall consecrate and celebrate the Day of Independence, the time of our liberty, the date marking the rebirth of the sovereignty of our nation in its homeland. This is the day we have hoped for – we shall rejoice and be merry on this day. On this night, we will shall relate to each other the tales of yearning, the Aliyah, the struggle for independence. The building of the land and its society, and the hope and the efforts exerted for peace.



Blessed are you, Lord, our G-d, King of the universe, who created the fruit of the vine.

Blessed are you, Lord, our G-d, King of the universe who has granted us life, sustained us and

enabled us to reach this occasion.


How good and pleasant it is

for brethren to dwell together



First Light – Light for Yearning for the Redemption

We kindle the first light in the Independence Menorah to commemorate the yearning of our nation to the land of Zion and Jerusalem throughout all of its years of exile.

Dip the bread in honey in honor of our land that is a "land that flows with milk and honey" and recite the prayer: Blessed are you, Lord, our G-d, king of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth.


From the Declaration of Independence

After the people were exiled from the land by force, they still remained loyal and had not ceased from prayer and from aspiration to return to their land, to renew in it their political freedom.

My Heart is in the East

My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west--

How can I find savor in food? How shall it be sweet to my palate,

How shall I render my vows and my bonds, while yet

Zion lieth beneath the fetter of Edom, and I in Arab chains?

A light thing would it seem to me to leave all the good things of Spain --

Seeing how precious in my eyes to behold the dust of the sanctuary in ruins.

                  Rabbi Yehudah Halevi



Whoever wishes to be an authentic Jew

Must travel to the land of Israel, and if he meets up with many obstacles he must obliterate them and go there, since this is the key to winning the war... it is impossible to arrive to the land of Israel without afflictions... There are those who believe that they wish and have a deep yearning to come to the land of Israel, had they been able to take this trip with affluence and not under dire conditions. Yet this does not describe true desire. Since those who actually wish to come to the land of Israel – ought to go there even by  foot, as Abraham was told: "Go from your country" – "Go" in particular.. Any trips that I take – I take only to the land of Israel.

                                                                                                Rabbi Nachman of Breslau


Zion My Pure One

Zion my pure one – Zion beloved

From far my soul yearns and flutters

May I forget my right hand if I forget my treasured

Until my grave opens and my life – devours

Words: Menachem Mendel Dulitzky

Melody: Hayman Cohen


Praise Jerusalem

Praise oh Jerusalem – praise thee the Lord

Give up your glory, oh Zion to -G-d

Since he's strengthened the gate's bolts around you

Blessing the sons who've gathered within you

Words: Psalms 147, 12-13         Melody Avihu Medina


Beautiful Town

Beautiful district joy to your cities
You are a loyal residence to your king and your princes

Words: Rabbi Shalom Shabazi

Melody: Yemenite Hymn



Second Light – Light for Zionism and Aliyah


We shall kindle the second light of the Independence Menorah in honor of our mothers and fathers, those who initially realized the Zionist vision, who left the lands and the birthplaces and the homes of their parents, and had arrived to re-establish the old/new homeland.  A candle in honor of the immigrants from all periods: The first Aliyah, the second one and those that followed and the immigrants from north and from east and west, who were absorbed in Israel, who had built it and together, have established the state.


Now is the time to sip some orange juice in honor of the fruit of the land, the golden fruit.


How did I hear that people are going to the Land of Israel? There were a lot of rumors. We were excited as we learned about the land of Israel and we asked: "Lord of the world, when shall we ascend there?" We were passionate about Israel, we were passionate about Jerusalem. It was about the Holy land and whoever goes to the Land of Israel is a holy person. A member of the family went to Jerusalem, possibly by foot, from village to village, when he returned all the villagers surrounded him to gaze at his clothes, when he came from Jerusalem. He had been in Safed and in Tiberius. He was telling us about it and we were longing to go...An announcement was made indicating that whoever wills it, shall have the merit to go to Jerusalem. Then a message came, "Are you ready?" We quickly sold all we had and travelled to Jerusalem. This was in 1952.  AS TOLD BY SHALOM BITON OF TIDHAR SETTLEMENT IN THE NEGEV

At this point it is suitable to relate Aliyah anecdotes of family members


Lift up your eyes and look about you: All assemble and come to you; your sons come from afar, and your daughters are carried on hips. Then you shall look and be radiant,  your heart shall throb and swell with joy; “Who are these that fly along like clouds,   like doves to their nests?9 Surely the islands look to me; in the lead are the ships of Tarshish,[a] bringing your children from afar.

                                                                                     Isaiah 60



The idea is longstanding. It is: The establishment of the Jewish State. The land of Israel is the land of our forefathers, which we shall never forget. ever. As it is mentioned, the hearts of our people shall be shaken and when it is referred to – many shall arrive. Every one of you 

carries within him/her a bit of the chosen land. I therefore truly believe, that a new and wonderful generation shall emerge from the land. The Maccabees shall be resurrected. I repeat my initial statement: Jews who will it shall attain their land. The time has come that we shall be free on our land.

If you wish – this is no fairy tale.                                      Benjamin Ze'ev Herzl


Here in the land our father's endeared

Here in the land our father's endeared

All the hopes shall be realized and fulfilled

Here we'll live and build with glee

A life of freedom, liberty

Here the presence of G-d clearly glows

Where the language of Pentateuch flows


In the fields plough, plough

Sing a song right now

Cheer out loud and clear

For the tiny buds are here

In the fields plough, plough

Sing a song right now

Cheer out loud and clear

For the seeds shall soon appear

Words: Israel Dushman

Melody: Y. Richter


Lift to Zion

Lift a flag way up to Zion

The flag of the camp of Yehuda

Go by car or march along

We all parade with one another


Together we're headed - to there we return

Back to the land of our fathers

To our cherished land we had yearned

In the cradle of our youth we gather

Words: Noah Rosenblum

Melody: Noah Zelodkovsky

The Convoy Song

In many tongues we had communicated

Yet with one another - seldom were acquainted

We had left many places back behind

Yet only one of them was settled in our mind

Many locations we had left behind

Since this land is what we set out to find


The convoy continues - though

It set out quite a while - ago

Those who came from there to here

Farmers - sturdy pioneers

Toiled with fervor, backs were bent

They had no chance to see the end

And we are the ones to pass

We became part of the mass

They shall not dare leave us out

This is what we're all about


From crowded ghettos and camps we had


Into the wilderness and swamps we had surged

From Arab lands, and Poland also Russia

We kindled lights in Dimona and Degania

From Arab lands and Poland also Russia

We kindled lights in Dimona and Degania


From abroad the people flew

Bringing many problems too

Yet a nation here established

An old language was refurbished

Once again it was awakened

The major one that to be spoken

From around the land storms loudly

Hardships trigger pain profoundly

Yet there is some room for joy

For strength shows up with bravery.

Israel just blossoms all around us

Despite our faults its strong and sound and suits us

And the Negev yet will yet flourish

And even the elder will be astonished


The convoy continues – though...

Lyrics: Alay Mohar

Music: Folk


Third Light – Light for Defense of the Land


The third light of the Independence Menorah - We shall kindle and remember the struggle for the land, the continuous battle and those who have fallen in the process. We shall light a candle in honor of the warriors in the days preceding the foundation of the state and in honor of the soldiers of the Israel Defense Army and the security forces who have fought and still fight for its defense to date.


We shall raise the second glass in honor of the soldiers of the Israel Defense Army

And we shall pray for the return of the captives and missing soldiers.


It is proper to add at this point – family anecdotes



This army emerges from the people and then returns to the people. These revelations begin with the spirit and end with spirit. The supremacy of our soldiers does not stem from the power of iron, rather, in the merit of a sublime mission awareness, realization of our justified cause, of deep love to the homeland.

And of recognition of the difficult role placed upon them – to ensure the existence of the nation in its homeland. To fulfil this even at the price of their very lives -

The right of the people of Israel to live in its land, a life of freedom, independence, with peace and tranquility.

From the speech of Yitzhak Rabin on Mount Scopus, following the Six-Day War, 1967



Time has elapsed and the nature of the struggle of our existence has changed. In the Spring of 1994 the Television networks broadcasted time and again the video clip showing the Druze soldier, Amir Fares holding back and refraining from shooting, turning back and walking away.

Amir related: "When I stood before the boy who threw stones at me, I could have easily pulled the trigger, yet at that moment I envisioned the small picture of my little brother, Adam, at home in Hurfeish and I knew immediately that I shall hold back the fire. I could not shoot at a nine-year-old boy".


I Have No Other Land

This is my land –I have no other

Even if it is burns with fire

Only a Hebrew word pierces -

Into my artery, into my soul

In a painful body

In a heart that's hungry

This is the home for me.


I shall not sit back

Since my land is looking black

I shall not let go

I shall get the message through

And I'll sing in its ears

Until it opens its eyes


This is my land – I have no other

Until better days arrive

Until it can open its eyes

Lyrics: Ehud Manor

Music: Korin Alel



Autumn night over Negev sets in

And kindles stars above quietly

On the threshold, passes the wind, as

Clouds pass over the road subtly


It's been almost a year that we've felt

How the time in our fields swiftly passed

It's a year and we're but a few left

Since so many have been laid to rest

Yet we'll remember them all

Their forelocks, their descriptions

Since we're brothers - us all

In our hearts they're inscriptions

For with blood they went on call

And have left you to be our connection


And our friendship goes on without words

It is grey and stubbornly silent

Of the dreadful nights in which we stirred

Yet our friendship it strong – it is giant.


Like your youths we all do resemble

Once again in your name we shall smile

Since the friends that are gone and have fallen

Kept you going for the sake of us all.


And we shall remember them all...

Lyrics: Haim Gouri

Music: Sasha Argov



Center Light – Fourth Light – Light for the Land

Fourth light of the Independence Menorah we shall kindle in honor of the State of Israel that was established on the 5th of Iyar, 5708.  The state is still deliberating and inquiring, seeks a way and hopes. May our country be the worthy realization of the dream of generations, a nation in which justice resides over all of its echelons and all wakes of society.


We shall raise our third toast in honor of the State of Israel on its day of Celebration



From the Declaration of Independence

The State of Israel will be open for Jewish immigration and for the Ingathering of the Exiles; it will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture.



"And you shall love your neighbor as yourself" – This goes further than the commandment of the Jewish Torah Law. The Jewish Torah has not sufficed with this – it is not enough to refrain from undermining the rights of others. Personal relationships must be based on sharing the same fate, mutual assistance, affinity of interactions, friendships between equals, love of mankind, only on the basis of the commandment of "You shall love your neighbor as yourself" shall the State of Israel be established that is true to the profound human mission of Judaism.  

David Ben Gurion


How was our National Flag Conceived?

"I had arrived to Basel (Switzerland) to handle preparations for the first Zionist Congress (1897). The minor but difficult question that was raised was, with which flag shall we decorate the House of Congress? We have no flag! So, a thought came to my mind: We actually have a flag that is blue and white: The tallit with which we adorn ourselves in our daily prayers, on weekdays and on Shabbat, on ordinary days and on holidays - it is white and is decorated with light blue stripes. Let our flag be white with light blue stripes ... to the eyes of all of Israel and to the eyes of the nations. I was instructed to produce a white and light blue flag and to have shape of the Star of David drawn on it. This is how our national flag was born". 

Excerpt from an address by David Wolfson, the second president of the Zionist Movement.


State of Israel

Do not eventually stray

Nor become a symbol on a stamp

Preserve your crispy taste

The unfinished sharpness – maintain

As we pour in it our time, our days

So that the warmth of life remains



This is My Land

This is my land so small that it's space on world maps is not large enough to fit its name within.

This is a land that constantly 'eats its inhabitants' yet does not gain weight.

This is a land that who's boundaries – are unbounded.

This is a narrow land, this is a land with sorrows.

This is a land in which the fathers have eaten unripe produce and the teeth of the sons are perfect.

This is a land in which every citizen has the right to voice his opinion, yet there's no law forcing anyone to listen to it.

This is the only land in the world I can live in.

This is my land.

                                                          Ephraim Kishon




Our tiny little land, so beautiful and fair

A land whose garment's shabby, a land whose feet are bare,
You are the apple of my eye by morning and by night,
Oh, let me hear your music, my own beloved bride,
Open up the portals, and I'll give thanks inside.

Within the shaded forest where sun can never reach,
We'll put down roots together into the earth beneath,
Into the wells of beauty, the fountains clean and pure,
My homeland ever humble, a nomad proud and poor.

They'll never cease, your wonders,
Your song remains, I know,
My heart is at your mercy,
And whispers soft and low:
My own little land, you are mine,
You are my sister, my own,
You and you alone, all that is left.

The fragrance of the village to our robes will cling,
The sheep bells in the meadow within our hearts will ring.
And in the peaceful twilight
with one soft ray of light,
We'll stroll as joyful lovers,

we'll walk with naked feet.


Lyrics: Yoram Teharlev

Music: Rami Kleinstein



At this point you may wish to discuss the significance of "our small land"




The Fifth Light – The Light of Land Development and Preservation of its Landscape


The fifth light of the Independence Menorah we shall kindle in honor of the settlement of the State of Israel and its development. We shall foster its charm and beauty and alongside the concrete and cement we shall preserve the water, the landscapes and the tapestry of gardens.


 At this point, take a drink of pure water to honor the building of the land and the preservation its unique nature.


The First Furrow in Petah Tikva

After the rain ceased we harnessed the oxen and set out to plow. We went into the field east of what is Pinsker Street now. The second one was Rabbi Yehoshua Shtampfer, who, when he seized a plow - burst into tears and exclaimed, "We are fortunate that we have been privileged to reach this moment, in which we follow the first path of ploughed by a Jewish plow in the Land of the Prophets after an abandonment of the land of our fathers throughout the long exile. Blessed is he who has kept us alive and sustained us and has allowed us to arrive at this moment". We all trembled at the sound of these words, and with eyes tearing with excitement and joy, we grabbed the plow from hand to hand with zeal and fervor as Jews do with the Torah scroll on the Simchat Torah. In this way, the Hakafot were repeated several times without further speech. This had occurred on Hanukkah of year 1878.

                                                                       Yehuda Ra'ab, one of the founders of Petah Tikva


Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—   those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.  Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle. 

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble... He led them by a straight path to a city where they could settle. He turned the desert into pools of water and the parched ground into flowing springs; there he brought the hungry to live, and they founded a city where they could settle. They sowed fields and planted vineyards that yielded a fruitful harvest;

                                                                                                                   Psalms 107


They were Young Boys

They were youths

And young girls too

Immigrating to the land

Tiny parcels in their hands

Hiked Judea and Kinrot

Where they resolved to get together

And make a team of sisters and brothers

And every item they had to wear

They would give away and share

With joy they built white tents in sand

In Kineret, Degania and around the land

And people watched and asked - amazed

Whether these people were half crazed.

Nathan Alterman


Lo and Behold

Lo and Behold

How great is this day

As one's chest is aflame

In a field a plough on its way


A spade, a pitch axe and a pitchfork and a hoe

Got together and shouted as they heaved and hoed

Let us set fire to the earth below

And turn the land into a bright green glow

Lyrics and Music: Zalman Chen



We Shall be the First

We shall get ahead of the others

Said a brother to a brother

We shall be among the builders

We'll move the plumb lines and wires


Coming and going to and fro

Some work is done though there's more to go

Some trees we plant on rocky land

On the mountains and on the plains

Lyrics: Joseph Heftman

 Music: Folk

Geography Class

Back at school

There was a picture on the wall

In which a farmer ploughed

And made furrows in the ground

And in the background

Cypress trees swayed

And clouds were dark, there was a heat wave

The farmer's work shall harvest us some bread

When we are grown, that's what the teacher said


And then says the teacher:

"Autumn will soon be closer"

As geography class continues

And she shows a squill just near the window

The first rain will soon be here

Its drops will soak all far and near

A see-through curtain they will form

And all the fields they shall adorn


That's how we softly and simply understood

And is what we envisioned

in our charming childhood


So we imagined

As the wonders accrued

The hammers played music

The ploughs sang their tunes

There are vine growers

And farmers too

A land of shepherds

Is what we envisioned it

in our charming childhood

Lyrics: Eli Mohar

 Music: Ephraim Shamir


The Sixth Light – The Light for Israeli Culture and the Hebrew Language


The sixth light of the Independence Menorah we kindle in honor of the Hebrew culture that is in the making and to the Hebrew language that has been restored as the spoken language of our country.


We shall taste seasonal fruit and olives: to experience both the bitterness and the sweetness of the land of Israel.



The Jewish nation dwelling in the holy land of Israel must speak the holy language, which is the sacred language with which the worlds were created, and if they do not speak the holy language, the land does not belong to them, yet the land is in our possession since we do speak the holy language.

                                                                Rabbi Shlomo of Lutsk



The Sacred Treasure – The Culture of Israel

The sacred treasure that we have preserved may have only been something created prior to the exile, something that we have brought, wholesome and ready, to the lands of our Diaspora and which we have resolved to guard dearly. The very unique national seed which we imagine instinctively as we utter the word "Jew" has been conceived prior to anything foreign, meaning – in the land of Israel. On the land of Israel, the Hebrew nation came into existence, in which we breathed the winds of the land, we were surrounded with its atmosphere, and our bodies were nourished with the grain that grew on its soil. Thereupon, the genuine seed of our national singularity is the pure fruit of the land of Israel.

                                                                                            Ze'ev Jabotinsky


The Israeli dialogue takes place between the facts of the past and the emerging memory. No longer is it a uniform history, but a mosaic of memories and counter-memories. The privatized awareness of Israeliness builds separate identities and distinct memories. Israel is now growing older and alternative stories are being written. This is not a sign of weakness and feebleness, but a testament to maturity and openness that generate a lively dialogue between the past and the present.

                                                                                        David Ohana and R.S. Wistrich





Here I am at home this is my birthplace

On the plain that's lies besides the shore

Here I grew with friends I know their faces

This land is mine I'm looking for no more


Here's where I was born

Here my kids have also grown

Here I built my home alone

Board by board

Here you are my company

And with a thousand guests with me

After decades abroad

I wander no more


Here I played all my songs so lively

Taking nightly trips into the yard

And when I looked out quite so far behind me

I knew my sacred home and was - on guard


Here's where I was born...


Here I had my table set so simply

Just a slice of bread and flowers fresh

Opening the door, I smile brightly

And happily, I welcome all my guests!

Lyrics and music: Uzi Chitman

On our Way (Going Again)

Once again, we're

on our way

Hand tied to hand

By a golden band.

Once again, we're

On our way,

A nation is on the track

A song on its back.


Up to gates of heaven

We'll certainly arrive

Soon if not today.

And up to gates of heaven

We'll certainly arrive

We travel not in vain.


Even if the road is long

And it's wearisome

We are blessed with power

Even if the road is long

And it's wearisome

We shall go together!


Up to gates of heaven...

Lyrics: Shimrit Or

Music: Nurit Hirsch




The Seventh Light – The Light for Peace


The seventh light of the Independence Menorah we shall kindle for peace as it is written:

They will beat their swords into plowshares

    and their spears into pruning hooks.

Nation will not take up sword against nation,

    nor will they train for war anymore.

                                                                        Isaiah 2


We shall raise a toast of prayer and hope for peace with our neighbors.



Addition to the Vision of Peace:


Do not suffice with turning swords into plowshares! Reshape them and turn them into musical devices.

Whoever intends once again to fight

Must get back with work tools to set himself right

                                            Yehuda Amichai


From the Declaration of Dependence

We extend our hand to all neighboring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighborliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land. The State of Israel is prepared to do its share in a common effort for the advancement of the entire Middle East.



He who makes peace in his high places, may he make peace for us and for all Israel

May he make peace, may he make peace

Peace​​ for us and for all Israel

May he make peace, may he make peace

Peace​​ for us and for all Israel
He who makes peace in his high places, may he make peace for us and for all Israel


May he make peace, may he make peace

Peace​​ for us and for all Israel

May he make peace, may he make peace

Peace​​ for us and for all of the world

Lyrics: Traditional

Music: Nurit Hirsch






Rabbi Chiya and Rabbi Shimon the son of Chalafta

Were strolling in the valley of Arbel

And they observed the morning star.

Said Rabbi Chiya the Great to Rabbi Shimon:

Upon my word, Rabbi, So is the redemption of Israel

At first it comes slowly:

And as it advances

It grows bigger and more expansive

Talmud Yerushalmi Tractate Brachot Chapter 1



"And I shall bring my people Israel back from exile.

They shall rebuild the ruined cities and live in them.

They shall plant vineyards and drink their wine;

They shall make gardens and eat their fruit.

I shall plant Israel in their own land,

never again to be uprooted from the land I have given them,”

                                              Amos 9



To the life of this nation

Hearty Appetite

Following the Meal:

Grace after Meals


Song: (May be sung to the tune of "Hatikva")

A Song of Ascents.

 When the Lord returns those that are to be returned to Zion,
    we were like those who dreamed.
 Our mouths were filled with laughter,
    our tongues with songs of joy.
Then it was said among the nations,
  “The Lord has done great things for them.”
 The Lord has done great things for us,
    and we are filled with joy.

 Return our those that are to be returned, Lord,
    like streams in the Negev.
 Those who sow with tears
    will reap with songs of joy.
 Those who go out weeping,
    carrying seed to sow,
will return with songs of joy,
    carrying sheaves with them.

            Psalms 126



Of the Songs of the Land of Israel

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