Brandeis Hillel, a Jewish club on campus, organized an in-person event in celebration of the 73rd Israel Independence Day, Yom Ha’atzmaut, on April 15 in Fellows Garden. 

Hillel held various activities such as tie-dye, candle making and swag giveaways in commemoration of Yom Ha’atzmaut. They also offered popular Israeli snacks: bourekas, which are baked pastries with savory fillings, falafel, which are deep-fried chickpea fritters, and Bamba, which is a peanut butter flavored snack. 

The celebration was part of a more extensive program that Hillel holds annually called “Israel Week,” where the organization celebrates the state of Israel and aims to educate the student body about Jewish heritage, identity and culture. 

According to Sara Bernstein ’23, president of Brandeis Hillel, Israel Week is highly anticipated among students and is one of the club’s biggest events on campus each year.

Yom Ha’atzmaut is a day where the Jewish community worldwide celebrates the formal establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. It is the day after Israel’s Memorial Day, Yom Hazikaron, each year. During the transition between the two holidays, the atmosphere shifts from somber remembrance of lost lives on Yom Hazikaron to a joyous celebration on Yom Ha’atzmaut. 

“They go back to back because we also want to recognize that there’s been so much that’s lost on the path toward statehood, so there is always a bit of bitterness in our celebration — which I think is very special,” Samantha Brody ’24 explained, the Israel Programs Coordinator at Brandeis Hillel.