JCP Blog

JCP Celebrates Yom Ha’Atzmaut

Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day, is celebrated on the fifth day of the month of Iyar (celebrated on May 2, 2017 this year), which is the Hebrew date of the formal establishment of the State of Israel, when members of the provisional government read and signed a Declaration of Independence in Tel Aviv. The original date corresponded to May 14, 1948.

See how JCP celebrated Yom Ha’atzmaut in our Early Childhood Center (ECC), Hebrew School Project (HSP) and at our community celebration! (Click on photos to enlarge)


ECC children fully enjoyed Yom Ha’Atzmaut celebrations:

Ruth Goodman and Danny Uziel from the Israeli Dance Institute joined the Preschool children to perform classic Israeli dances and to teach them some traditional and more modern dances. The children enjoyed dancing to the Hebrew music and the enthusiasm with which Ruth and Danny shared the beautiful dances.

In the classrooms, many classes created Israeli flags which they waved proudly in a parade parade to celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Classes danced, read stories, created maps of Israel, built the Kotel and dug in dirt from the dead sea. Other classes prepared Israeli salad, hummus and falafel for an Israeli feast, and created passports to “travel” to Israel.

Children built Israeli cities such as Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa and Tzfat out of blocks. See this project from start to finish in these photos from our school bulletin board (click to enlarge):

One room reconstructed the taped circle on their rug to configure the map of Israel and they sat “in” various places in Israel during “circle” time. All children got a special blue and white cookie in the color of the Israeli flag and some classes made birthday cakes. “Yom Huledet Sameach” (Happy Birthday) was heard throughout the ECC!


During Yom Ha’atzmaut, our students learned about Israel and her importance to the Jewish people, combined with fun, interactive activities that brought the sights, sounds and tastes of Israel all the way here, to downtown NYC. Here are some of the ways our HSP students celebrated Israel’s 69th birthday:

  • HSP Juniors (Pre-K)
    Using the Israeli flag as inspiration, the children used a variety of blue and white materials to create a collage and enjoyed blue and white cookies.
  • Kindergarten
    The classes together and looked at pictures of different places in Israel, including Tel Aviv, the Dead Sea, Jerusalem, Eilat, Haifa, and the Negev (southern desert). They also wrote and drew messages and wishes to put in the cracks of the Kotel, a model of which is set up in the classroom that included: “I wish I could go to the Dead Sea.” “I wish we could give more tzedakah to Israel to plant more trees.” “I love Israel!”
  • 1st Grade
  • The students rotated through fun stations: Flag Making, “Building” Jerusalem, and Israel out of Clay. At the Flag Making station, they added personal touches to the Israeli flag, some featuring basketball players in the center while other featured additional colors to the already existing blue and white stripes. At the “Building” Jerusalem station, blocks were used to create a similar cityscape of the familiar Jerusalem skyline. At the Israel out of Clay station, the students started off by molding clay into the shape of the country, but soon evolved into creating all sorts of celebratory sculptures, including a clay birthday cake with 69 candles for Israel, as well as special “Israeli” jewelry to wear to celebrate.
  • 2nd Grade
    The student tried to imagine what it might take to start a state. As we read some of the values in Israel’s Declaration of Independence the students reflected on last week’s Holocaust Remembrance Day. They thought it was important to remember but also to celebrate when things go well. The students created their own set of values, also naming a brand new state. In “The Land of Please” everyone had houses and food provided by the state. In “Silly Coukouland” everyone had the right to freedom of silly speech.
  • 3rd & 4th Grade
    We learned and sang Od Yavo Shalom Aleinu/Peace Will Come Upon Us, Yet and the Israeli national anthem, Hatikvah.
  • 5th Grade
    The students started to learn about the history of Jews in Israel. They were given strips of paper with historical events ranging from the patriarchs until the Balfour Declaration and had to decide where events such as Jerusalem first being declared as a capital city, Hanukkah, and the crusades fit into chronological order. Seeing how the students used prior pieces of knowledge to complete this puzzle was quite impressive.
  • 6th and 7th Grade
    The students explored the pre-state period known as the British Mandate of Palestine and played games that simulated the entry of young, brave Jews into Israel, where they could start a new life in the country of their forebears by jumping over obstacles, dodging balls, and limbo-ing under string. Then they learned about Israel’s struggle to maintain independence and the War of Liberation of 1948, the Six Day War of 1967, and the Yom Kippur War of 1973. They also watched excerpts from a documentary on Palestinian-Israeli relations since 1948 to gain insight into this complex and multifaceted conflict and asked poignant questions, demonstrating an awakened curiosity and interest about this crucial issue faced by modern Jews.

The entire JCP community was invited to join our HSP students for a celebration of Israel with music, food and dancing on Tuesday night. It was a fun, festive evening!