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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Monday, September 25, 2023

Letter to the Editor: Israeli Independence Day event benefits all of campus

When I committed to the University of Wisconsin-Madison I was ready to challenge myself academically, socially and culturally as an involved Jewish freshman. I knew that my college choice would be a journey of growth and I was ready to take on the college world by keeping an open mind. I had always been an active Jewish child through my family’s Friday Shabbat routine, my elementary education at a Jewish private day school, nine summers spent at a Jewish summer camp and eventually studying abroad during my sophomore year of high school in Israel. I made the choice to explore myself, my faith and my abilities by exploring Israel, a country that values culture, passion, history and celebration.

While there I was fortunate enough to celebrate Yom Ha’atzmaut in Israel, the country’s Independence Day. My Israeli friends and counselors tried to analogize the holiday to “the American Fourth of July — but on steroids.” The holiday matched my perception of the day perfectly: thousands of people rushing back and forth, with fireworks illuminating the sky, and the entire population joining in unison to cheer on and celebrate Israel’s long-waited independence. I was overwhelmed with excitement and awe, and to this day my Yom Ha’atzmaut Israel experience has been incomparable to any celebratory event.

“Freedom” has always flashed in my mind whenever Yom Ha’atzmaut is mentioned. I grew up in America and believe that people, for the most part, were granted freedom. Over the course of my education as both a Jewish and now college student, I learned that “freedom” is in actuality a precious gift. I saw that gift as I joined in the celebration of Israel’s independence, commemorating Israel’s struggles while highlighting the joy of democracy, independence and culture. The powerful voices and overjoyed smiles showed me how much Israelis love and honor their country’s progress.

I want Wisconsin students to feel and appreciate the humbleness I saw that day in Israel. As an active Jewish student who has experienced Israel’s passion and beauty, I want to help guide students to value Israel as I do. Badgers for Israel, a student organization at UW, will bring an incredible Israel Independence Day celebration to Madison’s campus. Our event, Yom Ha’FAC, combines the holiday’s name with the coveted letters FAC, Friday after class, which signifies the end of the school week and readiness for the weekend. This carnival-like event at Hillel will feature the fun, food and the festive vibe that mark Yom Ha’atzmaut in Israel.

With this celebration, we hope to engage other students, campus leaders and organizations to appreciate my and my club’s love of Israel. Yom Ha’FAC will perfectly highlight Israel’s excitement at gaining independence, focus on its freedoms and showcase accomplishments of the past 67 years of innovative, technology and democracy. With this event, we hope to unite people of all ages, religions and beliefs to celebrate and appreciate Israel’s positivity and excitement as a now independent country.

Sadie is a freshman student at UW-Madison. What do you think of her perspective? Do you share a similar passion for the state of Israel? What are your thoughts on her club, Badgers for Israel, combining the Israeli Indepence Day with a “Friday After Class” celebration. We want to know what you think. Please send all comments to

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