- I love it when Yom Haatzmaut is on Thursday, but it irks me a bit that we play with the dates of what ostensibly ought to be considered a Yom Tov. I think there should be a split between the "official" and "observed" holiday (like President's Day in the U. S., and, to a lesser degree, Purim Meshulash - as pointed out by BZ in this comment). 5 Iyar should remain the liturgical Yom Haatzmaut, even if it falls on Shabbat. Yom Hazikaron should always be observed on the first Wednesday after 1 Iyar, and Yom Haatzmaut should always be observed (in terms of public displays such as parades and fireworks, the International Bible quiz, stores and schools closed, etc.) on the following day - i.e., the first Thursday after the first Wednesday after 1 Iyar (like Labor Day in the U.S. is on the first Monday after the first Sunday of September; the difference here is that if 1 Iyar is a Wednesday, Yom Hazikaron would be on 8 Iyar and Yom Haatzmaut on 9 Iyar). Yom Haatzmaut would thus never be observed before 3 Iyar, and never after 9 Iyar. The advantage is that it gives Israelis a taste of the 'long weekend', such as Memorial, Labor and Thanksgiving weekends that Americans have come to love. If an MK reads this and wishes to sponsor a bill in the Knesset promoting this arrangement, please call if "Chok AddeRabbi". Thanks.
- I'm beginning to learn that it's possible to make a decent living in this country, but you've got to want it badly. I'm hereby writing bifnei am va-edah that the first time I end the month in the black (i.e., out of 'meenoos'), I will sponsor a kiddush. Nedarai la-Shem ashalem negda na le-khol amo'.
- Modiin was in the news recently as it became the home of the first ever state-funded Reform congregation in Israel. Good for them. I believe that the state should not be funding local religious institutions at all - not shuls, not mikvaot, not eruvin - but as long as they are, any constituted congregation of taxpaying citizens should be entitled to their piece of the pie. The ideal system, for me, would be a "social institution voucher system", whereby every citizen (including children, whose parents would be entitled to the vouchers until the child reaches the age of 18) would be allocated coupons worth X NIS that can be 'spent' on a wide variety of social and cultural institutions. People would be able to divide the coupons, allocating, for example, some to the shul, some to pay for public holiday entertainment, etc. Allocation of public lands would be a thornier issue, but this is a start.
- Batel Levy didn't win the International Bible Quiz. I guess we Real Jews still know the TaNaCh better. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v