05 May 2006

YCT Celebrates Yom Ha'azma'ut

On Wednesday 3 May, YCT celebrated יום העצמאות (Israeli Independence Day). In honor of the occasion, there were a few special speakers: Peninah Neuwirth spoke on the connection between ספירת העומר (counting of the omer) and גאולה (redemption), Rabbi Nathaniel Helfgot spoke on קדושת ארץ ישראל (the holiness of the land of Israel) from a halakhic perspective (sources used from his lecture may be viewed here), and Rabbi Avi Weiss spoke on what it means to be a religious zionist, especially as it relates to being a rabbi (a brief video clip of him speaking may be viewed here or below).
As to the latter, Rabbi Weiss defined a דורש ציון (seeker of Zion) in three ways: 1) one who realizes that a life as a religious Jew is incomplete without being in ארץ ישראל (the land of Israel), 2) one who yearns to live in ארץ ישראל (the land of Israel), even though it is presently elusive, and 3) one who takes part in tangible acts, such as visiting Israel, buying Israeli products, and politicking and defending Israel. He further said that "One of the best ways to reach Jews is through ציון (Zion)."
Aside from the lectures, there was also a festive lunch, morning prayers, and afternoon activities.

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Tags: YCT, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Zionism, religious zionism, Rabbi Avi Weiss, Israel, land of Israel, state of Israel, Israeli Independence Day, yom haazmaut, Jewish state

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