Revisiting Israel’s Declaration of Independence

Explore the history of this core document and the ways in it has expanded to include multiple meanings that continue to evolve in response to changing realities.
Occurred on: May 5, 2022 Virtual Event

A Sacred Scroll? On the Ritual Reading of Israel’s Declaration of Independence on Yom Ha’atzmaut

On May 14, 1948, moments before Shabbat, Israel’s Declaration of Independence was recited, formally marking the establishment of the State of Israel. Since then, the Declaration has played a profound role in Israel’s national ethos, has informed significant aspects of Israeli law, and has served as the basis of new Yom Ha’atzmaut rituals where it is recited as a prayer.

Who are the actors that promote the ritualization of the Declaration? What is the nature of combining a secular text with a religious music? And how are new traditions formed? This session will examine the attempt to sanctify the text of Israel’s Declaration of Independence as reflecting the struggle on the nature of Judaism in the Jewish State.

This program is part of Ideas for Today, our curated offering of courses led by leading scholars addressing the compelling contemporary Jewish issues of the day.