Israel is one of few countries on earth with two independence days: sure, you could celebrate the Jewish state’s independence on May 14th (or on the 5th of Iyar, if you prefer), in recognition of David Ben Gurion’s declaration of the state of Israel after the termination of the British mandate. But if one independence day just isn’t enough, you could also celebrate on November 29th, the anniversary of the UN’s 1947 approval of the Partition Plan–effectively, the international community’s official recognition of a Jewish state in Palestine.
And celebrate they did at JTS, where a lunchtime reenactment of the pivotal vote helped distract cafeteria patrons from their usual stale tofu and last-minute Talmud translations. Instead, the seminarians put on their best accents as the vote was called from a podium in the center of the cafeteria: “Australia votes in favor of partition. Crikey!,” one shouted. “Costa Rica votes si!” “Luxembourg votes yes for particion.”
Boos went up when His Majesty’s government offered a demure abstention, but the cafeteria erupted in cheers moments later when the Soviets registered a historic vote of support. Excitement built as South American and former British commonwealth nations carried the Zionists to a 33-13 victory–with Cuba being, as the moderator noted, “the only nation the Arabs were able to convince by force of argument.”
Of course the partition vote is one of the most controversial and commented upon events in modern history. No matter–that, (as well as the fact that this was, afer all, a reenactment) didn’t take away from the post-vote singing of Hatikva, in recognition of “the hope that was realized 60 years ago.” Agonizing over socio-historical complexities is what the other 364 days of the years are for: in that vein, it was announced that this weekend marks the beginning of Conservative Judaism’s year-long effort to explore and discuss the implications of Jewish statehood in, recognition of the country’s 60th anniversary. Cake now, grueling self-examination later!
Speaking of which, Bwog suspects there wasn’t an Israeli flag cake at the real U.N. vote, but we’ll let it slide.