By Daniella M. Muller, ’91

The first year NSHA celebrated Yom Ha’atzmaut as a school was in 1955.  It was Israel’s seventh anniversary of independence and the prospect of visiting the Kotel was still just a dream. This week we will celebrate Israel’s 70th birthday and the innovative and powerful nation that it has become. Our core value of instilling Torat Yisrael – a commitment to and love for Medinat Yisrael, has been a steadfast part of our program for over 63 years.

Tomorrow, we will join together to remember our fallen Israeli soldiers through age appropriate presentations and ceremonies.  For those in our community, including our faculty members, alumni and parents who have served in the IDF, this is not an abstract moment, but one in which to remember family and friends who sacrificed their lives for our nation’s freedom and an important moment to teach our students as well.

By Thursday, our emotions move from solemnity to pure joy.  At NSHA, we will commemorate our independence through celebrations and experiential learning including Tefila Chagigit, chagigot, traditional Israeli Daglanut (flag presentation), Israeli shuks, guest speakers, music and film.  Every NSHA student, from our youngest Mommy and Me participants up through High School, will participate in formative programming that we hope will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

I would like to thank our faculty who have spent the weeks leading up to Yom Ha’Zikaron and Yom Ha’Atzmaut preparing our students spiritually and intellectually for these important holidays.  We are truly in a unique position to enable our children to learn about the establishment of the State of Israel Ivrit B’ivrit, some directly from teachers who served in Tzahal.

A special thank you to Morah Orna Amir at NSHA High School, Mr. Jonathan Zar, our director of Student Activities at Cherry Lane, our Bnei Akiva Shlichot, Zehava Fkado and Hodaya Tzur, Mrs. Marcelline Yellin and Mr. Izzy Kieffer for preparing the incredible programming which our students will experience this week. I know it will be memorable.

Finally, I encourage all of you to participate in the myriad of programming taking place this week at the synagogues in our communities. Joining together as a family along with your children demonstrates that this core value of Torat Yisrael that we imbue every day at school is one that we live at home as well.  I wish you and your families a meaningful Yom Ha’Zikaron and a happy Yom Ha’Atzmaut.