Happy birthday, Israel!



April 29, 2020

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Hillel students celebrated Yom Ha’atzmaut, marking the 72nd anniversary of Israel’s independence. Below are snapshots from some of the virtual events they organized: 

Worldwide Israel Party

More than 2,500 viewers participated in a worldwide celebration of Israel, organized by the Jewish Agency for Israel in partnership with Hillel International and other Jewish organizations. The nearly six-hour broadcast featured Jewish performers, including reggae singer Matisyahu and Broadway star Ben Platt.

Song of Hope

In preparation for a celebration over Zoom, five student leaders at Hillel Ontario sang a rendition of “One Day,” a song of hope and peace by Matisyahu. The party was attended by more than 40 students, many of whom dressed in blue and white.

Inhale, Exhale

Santa Barbara Hillel organized a weeklong celebration of Israel, including a mid-day yoga session taught by Leah Weissbuch, a certified yoga instructor and Hillel student leader. Students did yoga poses while listening to Israeli hits, such as “Mi’ma’amakim” by music icon Idan Raichel.


To celebrate Israel over Zoom, Hillel at Stanford University partnered with the Stanford Israel Association to create an Israel-themed bingo board. The bingo spaces, which included historic sites and traditional foods, helped students facilitate meaningful conversations about their relationship with Israel.