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Yom Ha'atzmaut in the United States

Many Jewish Americans in the United States remember Israel’s Independence Day, also known as Yom Ha’Atzmaut (or Yom HaAtzmaut). Celebrations are annually held on or around the fifth day of the month of Iyar, according to the Jewish calendar.

Is Yom Ha'atzmaut a Public Holiday?

Yom Ha'atzmaut is not a public holiday. Businesses have normal opening hours.

Israeli Flag
Israeli flags are often visible at events that celebrate Yom Ha'Atzmaut.
Israeli flags are often visible at events that celebrate Yom Ha'Atzmaut.
©iStockphoto.com/ kreicher

What Do People Do?

Many Jewish organizations, including community centers, university student groups, and some schools, organize events to celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut. Many of these events are open to the general public and include entertainment such as:

  • Kosher pizza dinners.
  • Singing, music and dance games or performances.
  • Face painting.
  • Flag making activities.
  • Barbecues.
  • Special rides, including camel rides.

Some Jewish communities also celebrate Israel’s Independence Day with benefit concerts featuring bands from Israel, as well as local bands. A variety of music is usually offered, ranging from traditional music with a rock twist to modern music from Israel. Various art and craft activities for children and young teenagers are also incorporated into events that celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut.

Public Life

Yom Ha’Atzmaut is not a federal public holiday in the United States.

Background

Many Jewish Americans celebrate Israel’s independence on Yom Ha’Atzmaut. It commemorates when David Ben-Gurion, who was Israel’s first prime minister, publicly read the Israel’s Declaration of Independence on May 14, 1948. According to the Jewish calendar, this was the fifth day of Iyar, the eighth month of the civil year, in the year 5708.

According to the Jewish calendar, the fifth day of the month of Iyar cannot fall on a Sunday. If this date falls on a Friday or Saturday, Yom Ha'Atzmaut is observed on the third or fourth day of the month. If the date falls on a Monday, it is observed on the sixth day of Iyar. This is so that the festivities do not fall just before, on, or just after the Sabbath.

Symbols

The most prominent symbol seen at events that celebrate Yom Ha’Atzmaut is Israel’s flag. This is a white rectangle in the ratio 11:8 with two horizontal blue stripes, one at the top and one at the bottom. A regular hexagram, known as the Star of David, or Megan David, is depicted in blue between the stripes.

About Yom Ha'atzmaut in other countries

Read more about Yom Ha'atzmaut.

Yom Ha'atzmaut Observances

Note: Jewish holidays begin at sundown the day before the date specified for the holiday.

YearWeekdayDateNameHoliday TypeArea
2010TueApr 20Yom Ha'atzmautJewish holiday 
2011TueMay 10Yom Ha'atzmautJewish holiday 
2012ThuApr 26Yom Ha'atzmautJewish holiday 
2013TueApr 16Yom Ha'atzmautJewish holiday 
2014TueMay 6Yom Ha'atzmautJewish holiday 
2015ThuApr 23Yom Ha'atzmautJewish holiday 
2016ThuMay 12Yom Ha'atzmautJewish holiday 
2017TueMay 2Yom Ha'atzmautJewish holiday 
2018ThuApr 19Yom Ha'atzmautJewish holiday 
2019ThuMay 9Yom Ha'atzmautJewish holiday 
2020WedApr 29Yom Ha'atzmautJewish holiday 

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