Monday, April 27, 2009

The Hallel Debate: Sephardic Perspectives on Yom Haatzmaut

Every year there is a major debate amongst the religious community as to how much emphasis Yom Ha'atzmaut should be given in the synagogue. In most prayer books there are special prayers to be said on the evening of Yom Ha'Atzmaut which includes parts of Leha Dodi and tehillim, one sung to the tune of the HaTikva.

While many Ashkenazi haredim will not acknowledge Yom Ha'Atzmaut, amongst the Sephardim the debate is more about the nature of the day. During the day there is a debate amongst Sephardim about whether to say Hallel with a blessing or without.

While many Ashkenazim antagonists of Zionism will declare that we can not celebrate such 'secular' events, this appears to have little basis for this in historical fact. There have always been many days added throughout Jewish history where the authorities have instructed they be commemorated in prayer and with the recitation of Hallel.

In the US, two of the oldest synagogues in America (both Sephardi), Mikveh Israel of Philadelphia and Shearith Israel of New York, actually omit tahanun (another significance of a joyful day) and recite Hallel.

Amongst the Sephardi authorities in Israel there is almost complete agreement that Yom Ha'Atzmaut is a joyful day which should include prayers of thanks and gratitude.

full article here

Monday May 05, 2008
Posted by Ashley Perry (Perez)

* Note Comments at the bottom of article are quite insightful as well.

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