May 10, 2016, Montevideo, Uruguay — The Chief Rabbinate of Uruguay announced that on Israel Independence Day, the Jewish community of Uruguay will hold a community-wide celebratory prayer on the evening of May 11th, coinciding with the celebrations in Israel. At that service, a new prayer will also be introduced besides the additions suggested by the Chief Rabbinate of Israel.
The prayers will be held at the Hebraica-Macabi sports complex of Montevideo and is being organized by the Zionist Organization of Uruguay, under the leadership of their president Sami Mylsztejn. “I am extremely happy that we have been able to bring together the entire Uruguayan community for this special event,” stated Mr. Mylsztejn. “This is what gives our people strength. Unity.”
At the communal service an additional prayer will be recommended for the festive liturgy. The prayer, titled “Al Hanisim le’Yom Haatzamaut” (meaning, For the Miracles for the Day of Independence), is a new prayer that was composed by Chief Rabbi Ben-Tzion Spitz, together with Dr. Avi Shmidman of Bar-Ilan University in 2009.
The prayer follows the style and form of other prayers of thanksgiving, specifically those composed for the Jewish holidays of Hanuka and Purim. In the years since Spitz and Shmidman composed the prayer it has made its way to individuals and communities around the world who recite it on Israel Independence Day. However, this is the first time it has been embraced by the Jewish community of an entire country.
“It is a great honor that so many people have found meaning and an articulation of spiritual joy through our prayer,” Rabbi Spitz explained. “The formation of the State of Israel is nothing less than a modern-day miracle for the entire Jewish people. It is our obligation to thank God for his overt involvement in its creation, for returning us to our homeland after our exile of two thousand years. We are witnesses to a historic process, and for many Jews, observant or otherwise, they connect with the words of our liturgy on this day of celebration either as a stand-alone prayer, or as a part of the prescribed liturgy.”
The full text of the prayer as well as translations into English, Spanish and Portuguese can be found here.
English translation below:
And for the miracles, and for the salvation, and for the mighty deeds, and for the victories, and for the battles which You performed for our forefathers in those days, at this time.
In the days of the ingathering of the remnant of Israel from the lands of darkness and the shadow of death to their beloved inheritance, pioneers of the nation arose, raised the flag, composed a declaration, and claimed the right of the nation to be established with its own consent, as a Jewish government in the land of its birth. With song and dance, women and children, the old and the young, celebrated on the streets with joy and rejoicing. At that same time, their enemies converged forthwith, to eliminate all trace of Israel from the land, and to push into the sea all the keepers of its faith. But You hurried forth to rescue your nation. You strengthened the hands of their defenders, and destroyed the weapons of their enemies. A revival of glory you made, a country of beauty you established, the beginning of the longing of the generations, a refuge and a fortress for the return of all Your people.