Tomorrow is the 30th of Shevat in the Jewish calendar. In Israel on this day we celebrate Family Day.
Originally, this day was Mother’s Day, but over time it grew to celebrate not just the mother, but the whole family created around her. Is it a special day to honor the strength, support and love of the family. It is a day that emphasizes positive family relationships and the importance of family. Israeli’s mostly celebrate Family Day in schools, kindergartens and pre-schools. Parents and grandparents are invited for activates such as making crafts, sharing family photos and singing songs.
Because Israel is a nation where immigration is constant, there is also the strong concept of the “adopted family.” When a person or a family makes Aliyah (immigrates) to Israel sometimes an established family will “adopt” them into their own particularly if they have no other relatives in the country. The adopted family provides advice to the new immigrants and gives them a family with whom to celebrate holidays and Shabbat.
This beautiful concept is congruent with the date of Family Day. It was decided that Family Day would be celebrated on the anniversary of the death of a woman named Henrietta Szold. Henrietta Szold was a remarkable woman who rescued thousands of children from the Nazis during World War II. She bought them to live in pre-state Israel and ensured they were cared for properly. While she never married or had children of her own she was known as “mother” to all these children. She cherished each and every child she rescued.
So on this special day for families let us honor the family and its members, but also welcome into the family fold all who want to lend a shoulder to the awesome task of contributing to the next generation.