As I opened my computer today, I was reminded tomorrow is something more than election day. It’s Israel’s newest national holiday, Yom HaAliyah. The law, passed this year by the Knesset, makes Israel the first country in the world to dedicate a national holiday to honoring the contribution of immigrants. How cool is that?
The push for official recognition was spearheaded by Tel Aviv Internationals, a volunteer-run organization comprised largely of immigrants from the West. They have been celebrating Yom HaAliyah in an unofficial capacity on the 10th day of the Hebrew month of Nissan, the date that coincides with the first mass Aliyah mentioned in the Bible, when Joshua led the Israelites into the Promised Land for the first time.
Although the legislation earmarks the 10th of Nisan, Israeli schools and the Knesset, which are on Passover recess during that time, will mark the national holiday on the 7th of Heshvan, coinciding with the Torah portion, Lech Lecha (Genesis 12:1-17:27) when Abraham and Sarah are commanded to leave home and head for the land of Israel.
Yesher Koah to all of the immigrants of the world. May you be for a blessing.