Setting a Date for Yom Hashoah

After much debate, a compromise date--satisfactory to none--is chosen.

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Had the Orthodox gotten their way in the final negotiations, Yom Hashoah would have been deferred to the month of Iyar or beyond. Had that happened, there would have been no connection between Yom Hashoah and Yom Ha'atzmaut. But, in fact, Yom Ha'atzmaut is the fundamental response to Yom Hashoah.

Now Yom Hashoah occurs one week away from Yom Ha'atzmaut, and nothing could more profoundly capture the fundamental relationship of Holocaust and Israel than that positioning. The State of Israel is not a reward or a product or an exchange for the Holocaust; it is a response. The Jewish people responded to the total assault of death by an incredible outpouring of life. The survivors came and rebuilt their lives. Jewish life was made precious again. The great biblical symbol that, according to the prophets, would some day prove that the covenant had endured is the reestablishment and repopulation of the land of Israel.

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Rabbi Irving Greenberg

Rabbi Irving (Yitz) Greenberg was the president of Jewish Life Network/Steinhardt Foundation and founding president of CLAL, the National Jewish Center for Learning and Leadership. He also is the author of For the Sake of Heaven and Earth: The New Encounter Between Judaism and Christianity (2004, Jewish Publication Society).