(Courtesy of RZA and Mizrachi USA) This year’s Yom Ha’atzmaut (observed on April 19) marks the 70th anniversary of the State of Israel. In anticipation and celebration of this milestone, the Religious Zionists of America (RZA) and World Mizrachi (WM) have facilitated the presentation of over 70 acclaimed speakers from Israel in over 70 U.S. synagogues on the Shabbat prior to Yom Ha’atzmaut, April 13-14, to speak about the State of Israel and what its 70th birthday means for us. This project, titled “Seventy for 70,” involves over 60 cities in 20 states throughout the U.S. On Sunday, April 15, an additional 12 events will bring together the various speakers for broader community events.
Dr. Ernie Agatstein, a member of the RZA Presidium from Los Angeles, stated, “The 70th anniversary of the State of Israel is a monumental achievement in the history of the Jewish people. If you take into account all the congregants who will attend davening this Shabbos and be exposed to the 70 speakers, thousands of families across the USA will be inspired, uplifted and connected to Torah from the State of Israel in celebration of this historic milestone.”
This unprecedented project is the largest coordinated Israel program in U.S. synagogue history. In recognition of its significance, the speakers will gather at Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, before their departure for the United States, where they will be formally thanked for serving as Israel’s ambassadors at this important time in Israel’s history.
Rabbi Reuven Taragin, who serves as the director of Seventy for 70, reflected: “Directing the Seventy for 70 program has been an exciting and meaningful experience. It has helped synagogues in the United States connect with each other while connecting with Israel.”
In addition to speakers, Seventy for 70 will mark the distribution of an innovative journal of Torah thoughts and articles penned by Israel’s prime minister, chief rabbis and other leading Israeli personalities.
Seventy for 70 will conclude with a national RZA Yom Ha’atzmaut program featuring Senator Joseph Lieberman that will take place on the evening of Wednesday, April 18, at 7:45 p.m. at the Young Israel of Woodmere, New York. Reflecting on Senator Lieberman’s presentation as a culmination of these many events, Mr. Martin Oliner, a member of the RZA Presidium from New York, remarked: “Senator Lieberman, like the many other thousands who will be inspired by these nation-wide events, is an American and a staunch Zionist. Who better than an observant, former United States senator to summarize what being a strong Zionist living in America means and obligates us to do.”
Rabbi David Israel, newly appointed executive vice president of the RZA, commented, “As Israel matures, and we admire the many and varied successes of the state, we must seize this opportunity to remind ourselves that her very existence is a miracle; we must utilize this moment to catalyze our commitment to Zionism. Seventy for 70 will serve as a springboard for several new and impactful programs being launched by the RZA.”