HANC’s Samuel and Elizabeth Bass Golding’s Elementary School in West Hempstead was transformed into a time capsule of the State of Israel’s proud and momentous history. The theme of this year’s Yom HaAtzmaut celebration focused on Israel’s past, present, and future. All of the students in grades kindergarten through sixth grade spent weeks learning and researching about all aspects of Israel’s history, culture, government, currency, discoveries, and innovations. As a culmination of everything they learned, each grade created an interactive display or experience to bring their research alive for the other students in the school. Beginning in the time of our forefathers, the children walked from room to room, experiencing the times and events of different periods of our people’s history. During the course of the morning, the students visited Avraham’s tent, watched a movie highlighting the beauty of Eretz Yisrael, visited a market under Wilson’s Arch, sifted sand to find old coins that were found by archaeologists in ancient Yerushalayim, crawled through the tunnels under the Temple Mount, and even saw a live play about why the Temple was destroyed.

After eating an Israeli lunch, complete with falafel and blue and white doughnuts, the lunchroom was transformed into a time tunnel, which reflected the research that the students have been doing about Israel’s 70-year history. Each grade level studied a decade in the life of Israel and focused on the major events, inventions, and personalities from that time period. A timeline from 1948-2018 was created and it included one major event from each year. In addition to viewing the timeline, the students created a three-dimensional map of Israel, a model of a kibbutz, a space rocket dedicated to Israeli Astronaut Ilan Ramon and highlighting Israel’s technological innovations, tributes to major Israeli figures like Golda Meir and David Ben Gurion, tzizit decorated with tributes to Israel’s history, and a display about the Israeli shekel. In addition, the children learned about the United Nations Partition Plan of 1948, utilizing an augmented reality app on iPads. The sixth graders created this fascinating exhibit using Google slides and uploaded images and videos of the students reflecting on the part of the partition plan that they had studied.

This spectacular day concluded with school- wide singing and dancing to celebrate this momentous 70th anniversary of the establishment of the State of Israel. Despite the unfavorable weather, the children were joined by their parents and danced to the exhilarating music of HANC’s music teacher, Rabbi Mordechai Shapiro, with tremendous joy and energy. Watching several generations of families dancing and singing together in celebration of this tremendous milestone was truly inspirational.

HANC’s magnificent Yom HaAtzmaut program was created through collaborative efforts of both the Judaic and general studies staff. As Barbara Deutsch, associate principal of HANC Elementary School, explained, “For so many years we talked about the hardships and challenges in Israel. This year we decided to focus on the many wonderful aspects of Israel. Israel is number one in technology and innovation, high on the list of tourist destinations and medical advances. This entire day focused on the awesome achievements of the people of Israel. The museum detailed all of the amazing events that have happened over the past seven decades.” Through the course of the day, the children gained a deeper understanding of the connection between the land that Hashem promised to our forefathers in the Torah, and followed our history up through modern times. The students also had the opportunity to discover that so many products that we use today, including SIM cards in cellphones, USBs, exoskeleton devices that help paralyzed people walk, and many more, have been developed in Israel and contribute to enhancing the lives of millions of people throughout the world. As HANC’s principal, Rabbi Yaakov Sadigh, put it, “It was a day of experiential learning that left a lasting imprint on the hearts of the children, and deepened their love of our homeland, Eretz Yisrael.”

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