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Rabbi's Blog: Yom HaZikaron & Ha'Atzmaut

04/24/2023 11:05:24 AM




Dear OZ family,


Tomorrow is one of the saddest days on the Jewish calendar in Israel. Yom Hazikaron is the day that the country mourns the loss of its brave soldiers who made the supreme sacrifice to help Israel gain and keep its independence. It is amazing how quickly Israelis move from the saddest day to one of the happiest days on their calendar, Yom Ha’atzmaut.


There is precedence for this in the Mishna in Masechet Ta’anit, as we move from our saddest day, Tisha B’av, to what the Mishna calls one of the happiest days of the year, Tu B’av, in less than a week. We are very good at navigating the tragic and joyful events of our history. In a similar vein, we went so quickly from the worst tragedy in our long history, to the euphoria of a return to Zion in just three years.


This is nothing short of miraculous and it deserves our attention and our participation. We thank our fellow shuls for joining us for a meaningful communal Yom HaShoah event at OZ, and we look forward to joining again for two Yom Ha’atzmaut celebrations, both beginning tomorrow night at West Side Institutional Synagogue as well as Lincoln Square Synagogue. Publicity has gone out for both these events - and you can find more information at and below this email.


Chazal say that Chizkiyahu lost the chance for lasting redemption when he did not sing praises at the salvation of Jerusalem from the hands of the Assyrians. Heaven forbid that we should be guilty of the same indifference. Let us be ever cognizant of the miracle of Israel’s existence, and of her successes and her thriving, and say Hallel with a heats of joy and gratitude to the almighty for being alive at such a time.


I draw your attention to 3 projects that have been initiated by the Efrat Foundation in memory of the three members of the Dee family of Efrat who were savagely murdered this past Pesach. You can donate to these projects through the attachment.


I conclude with a reminder that tomorrow is the 14th Yahrzeit of Mordechai ben Chaim Dovid, Mickey Herskovits Z'L. Mickey suffered unspeakable losses in the Shoah, and throughout his life, cheerfully dedicated most waking hours to Chesed, and helping others. After the war, he helped hundreds of refugees make their way to Israel, and led Seders and Yomim Noraim services for thousands of Jews who had nowhere to go. He was a veritable Chesed machine on the West Side, and anyone here long enough to remember him, knows that it is no exaggeration to consider that he was a Malach sent from above to lighten the burdens of everyone around him. He did this cheerfully and gladly, even as he himself was often racked in pain. His Yahrzeit is the same date as Yom Hazikaron, and may his family and all who knew him share the fondest memories of this sainted man, in good health until 120.


Stay well and safe.

Rabbi Allen Schwartz   

Congregation Ohab Zedek

118 West 95th Street | New York, NY  10025

Phone 212.749-5150, ext 200

E-mail | Website:

On April 7th, during the Passover holiday, Lucy, Maia and Rina Dee were murdered by Palestinian terrorists. Mother Lucy (48) and daughters Maia (20) and Rina (15) were gunned down on their way to a family hike. They are survived by husband and father Rabbi Leo Dee and three siblings -' Keren, Tali and Yehuda. Their deaths have left the Efrat community devastated. We are determined to honor their memories.


Together with the Dee Family, the Efrat Foundation will be funding three communal projects in memory of Lucy, Maia and Rina. Each project represents qualities of Lucy, Maia and Rina—allowing their memories and values to inspire us


Sat, April 13 2024 5 Nisan 5784