While we are still some weeks away from Shavuot, the culmination of this season, most see the holidays of Passover, Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Memorial Day), Yom HaZikaron (Israel Memorial Day), and Yom Ha’Atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) grouped together, primarily because of their calendar proximity, and do not include Shavuot, as it is among the least celebrated holidays. However, the fact that the Reform movement historically bolstered Shavuot with the placement of confirmation taking place on the holiday, and others renewed the practice of all night study—what is called a Tikkun Layl Shavuot— this unique holiday has found its renaissance in some communities.
So let’s take a look at the observance of this group of spring holidays. Passover remains as one of the two most celebrated holidays in the Jewish calendar, in one form or another, and is second only to Hanukkah. Yom Hashoah, as my colleague Rabbi Eliot Malomet has observed, has become a date marked primarily by survivors of the Holocaust and their families. Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut have become days relevant primarily to what might be called Diaspora Israelis (those Israelis who, irrespective of how many generations removed, live in the U.S).