Yom Ha’Atsmaut, Celebrating the State of Israel

Join us May 3rd at 4:30 pm for a short school performance in honor of Israel’s 69th Independence Day.

This year, in honor of Israel’s 69th anniversary of independence, a number of our 4th and 5th grade students will be performing a play about the ben Yehudah family. The script is in Hebrew, of course, in simple language so our students truly understand their lines. It was written by their teacher, Ilona Shechter, and myself, and directed through the extraordinary talents of Ilona, with support from Darby Auerbach Morris and a guest lecture from Julie Dorsey.

Everyone is invited to watch our short play, which is as much a learning exercise as a performance. As our students practiced their lines, they were also practicing those tricky Hebrew vowels, building basic vocabulary, and learning ben Yehudah’s remarkable story. 

Some background about the subject of the play:

For nearly two millennia, Hebrew was a language of ghosts. It sat on bookshelves in houses of study and on parchment scrolls at the front of synagogues. Its gutturals were mumbled and cried in prayer. But when Jews haggled over the price of a carp for their Shabbat gefilte fish, yelled at their children to hurry up for school, complimented a friend on a new hat – they did it in Yiddish, or Ladino, or the language of the land. No one lived in Hebrew.

One man changed that. His name was Eliezer ben Yehudah, and without him Yiddish might well be the language of Israel today. Ben Yehudah believed that the new generation of Jews – proud, independent, in a country of their own – should speak their own true language. Through formidable charisma, and much hardship for his family, ben Yehudah accomplished a miracle of techiyat ha’metim, revival of the dead.  Itamar ben Yehudah was the first child raised entirely in Hebrew.