Diaspora Jew Sought for Independence Torch

Diaspora Jew Sought for Independence Torch

Selection process begins to find first Jew from another nation to light torch for Independence Day ceremony.

Rabbi David Geffen

Rabbi David Geffen is a native Atlantan and Conservative rabbi who lives in Jerusalem.

Could the black mountain to the right, west of Eilat, be the biblical Mount Sinai?
Could the black mountain to the right, west of Eilat, be the biblical Mount Sinai?

Israeli Minister of Sports and Culture Miri Regev announced Sunday, March 26, that for the first a notable Jew from another nation will be invited to light one of the 12 torches kindled at the nighttime opening ceremony for Independence Day on Mount Herzl.

Previously, only Israelis representing certain categories have been chosen for the honor.

World Jewry is so important, Regev said, that “they should have a torch” on Yom HaAtzmaut.

Israelis have reacted favorably to the idea, seeing Jews everywhere as one people.

How will this man or woman be chosen?

Jews around the world can submit nominations the next few weeks.

In Atlanta, suggestions should be brought to the Israeli Consulate General in Midtown, to be passed on to Regev’s ministry in Jerusalem.

This is a dramatic moment for world Jewry. On visits to Israel, you have seen plaques on buildings and at forests. You have seen buildings named for donors who live outside Israel. Now someone will light an Independence Day torch for the Jews of the world.

The torch lighting to open Independence Day began in 1950 after Theodor Herzl’s remains were moved to Mount Herzl from Vienna. The Independence Day opening ceremony in 1949 was a service in downtown Jerusalem.

With Mount Herzl firmly established on the second anniversary of the state, young people carrying torches marched to the grave. Their initiative inspired David Ben-Gurion and his ministers to establish the torch-lighting ceremony.

Few Israelis can get tickets for this annual event because they are reserved for tourists, so come on over.

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