Yom Ha'atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, celebrates the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. Coming on the heals of Yom HaZikaron, Yom Ha'atzmaut is celebrated in Israel and around the world with dancing, fireworks, parties and the ubiquitous "mangal," or Israeli style barbecue. Many religious denominations will add special celebratory prayers to the weekday liturgy.
Hillels around the world mark Yom Ha'atzmaut in similar fashion, often with large public celebrations and an entire week's worth of activities, including parties, discussions and speakers.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Hillel
As Israeli pop songs echoed across campus, members of Artists4Israel used cans of red and orange spray paint to create a 10-foot-tall mural. The graffiti wall, painted with Hebrew and English words of peace, was one of the activities planned by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Hillel to honor Israel.
University of Central Florida Hillel
University of Central Florida Hillel organized a weeklong celebration of Israel, featuring an Israeli shuk, or marketplace. Students drew temporary henna tattoos on their hands while munching on popular Israeli snacks, including crunchy Bamba and colorful gummies.
University of Texas at Austin Hillel
More than 8,000 students and community members attended the Israel Block Party, hosted by University of Texas at Austin Hillel for the 19th consecutive year. The event featured a variety of activities, including camel rides, a silent disco and rock climbing.
Ithaca College Hillel
Students from Ithaca College Hillel participated in a one-hour dance class taught by Israeli dance instructor Rina Rinkewich. They learned traditional Jewish dances, including the Horah, a circle dance typically performed at weddings and other joyous occasions.
American University Hillel
American University Hillel partnered with more than 10 campus organizations to host a party for Israel’s birthday. Jewish and non-Jewish students danced to Israeli tunes, noshed on kosher food and snapped photos in Israel using a green screen.
DePaul University Hillel
DePaul University Hillel brought a taste of Israeli culture to campus by organizing “Paint and Sip: Israeli Art Night.” Students learned about the history of art in Israel before they participated in a painting lesson, taught by a professional instructor.