סדר לקריאת מגילת העצמאות | Reading of the Israeli Declaration of Independence for Yom Ha’atsma’ut

Jews have read sacred texts to commemorate miracles of redemption for a long time. Purim has Megilat Esther. Many communities read Megilat Antiochus or Megilat Yehudit for Chanukah. But to many modern Jews, the most miraculous redemption in recent history was the founding of the state of Israel, as we commemorate on Yom haAtzmaut. Like Purim, the story of the founding of Israel was entirely secular on a surface level, with no big showy miracles like a sea splitting or a mountain aflame. Like Chanukah, a Jewish state in the land of Israel won its independence against mighty forces allied in opposition. But we don’t have a megillah to read for Yom haAtzmaut. Or do we? Just as Megillat Esther is said to be a letter written by Mordekhai to raise awareness of the events of Shushan, so too does the Israeli Scroll of Independence, Megilat haAtzmaut, raise awareness of the events of the founding of the State of Israel. In this vein, I decided to create a cantillation system for Megilat haAtzmaut. Ta’amei miqra were chosen attempting to follow Masoretic grammatical rules – since modern Hebrew has a different grammatical structure, the form is somewhat loose. Because of the thematic similarities to Purim, I chose Esther cantillation for the majority of the text. Just as some tragic lines in Esther are read in Eikhah cantillation, some lines regarding the Shoah or bearing grim portents for the wars to follow are to be sung in Eikhah cantillation. And the final phrases of chapters II and III are to be sung in the melody for the end of a book of the Chumash, or the Song of the Sea melody. They can be done in a call-and-response form, with the community reading and the reader repeating. . . .

תפילה לישראל | A Prayer for Israel, by Rabbi Nahum Waldman z”l (2004)

This prayer for Israel was written by Rabbi Naḥum Waldman (1931-2004) for T’ruah: the Rabbinic Call for Human Rights. T’ruah works to ensure that Israel remains a safe and secure home for Jews and a place that lives up to the ideal stated in the State of Israel’s 1948 Declaration of Independence that Israel “will foster the development of the country for all of its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice, and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex.” . . .

כוונה להדלקת נרוֺת חנוּכה | Kavvanah for Ḥanukkiah Lighting by Bonna Devora Haberman, z”l (Mistabra Institute for Jewish Textual Activism, 2002)

This is an intention that I composed for the conclusion of a performance piece, Inner Fire, created and performed by my Mistabra Institute for Jewish Textual Activism at Brandeis University in 2002. It is as relevant today as ever. Please use it for inspiration when you light Ḥanuka candles. . . .

מי שברך לחיילי צה”ל | Mi sheBerakh Prayer for the Welfare of Israel Defense Forces Soldiers, amended by Dr. Alex Sinclair (2012)

May the Lord give our soldiers wisdom, understanding, and insight, so that they do not destroy the righteous with the wicked, as it is written in Your Torah: “Far be it from you to do such a thing, to kill the righteous with the wicked, treating them the same. Far be it from you – should the Judge of all the Earth not do justice?” (Genesis 18:25) . . .

תְּפִלָּה לָעֵצִים עַל ט״וּ בִּשְׁבָט | Prayer for the Trees of Erets Yisrael on Tu Bishvat, by Rabbis for Human Rights in Israel (2011)

In the wake of the continued uprooting of fruit trees and human settlements in the Land of Israel, T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights shared the following petitionary prayer. . . .


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