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Family day, Mother’s Day and what's in between

Family day, Mother’s Day and what's in between.

As I sat to write this post, about the Israeli Family Day, my first step, of course, was to consult with my family; I assumed they would be the best resource to define the meaning of Family Day for the Israeli society, and I was right.

Immediately a lot of bitter, sarcastic responses floated between our WhatsApp group, complaining about how this day was so much better as only Mother’s Day and that now it lost its meaning; one dramatic aunt even called it “fake news and rubbery of Mother’s Day.” And from the other more optimistic hand, well, to be honest, there was nothing.

To make sure you understand what I’m talking about- As a Jewish state, Israel has its own holidays that parallel many of the international holidays. We have our own Memorial Day of the Holocaust, we celebrate love in the Hebrew date of Tu Be’Av instead of Valentine’s Day, and we also celebrate Mother’s Day on the 30th day of Shevat (In memory of Henrietta Szold, the establisher of the Hadassah Organization). Or at least we used to. 

The Israeli Mother’s Day used to be a special day in which the whole family honors the mother for her hard work and dedication to her husband and kids. In the ’90s, angry voices were rising, demanding justice for the fathers. These voices claimed that fathers provide for their families just as much as the mothers, and therefore deserve equal recognition. This movement transformed Mother’s Day into Family’s day, a provocative change that causes a lot of disruption among our society. 

Family’s Day is meant to emphasize the relationships between the family members. The beautiful part of this concept is that it recognizes all types of families: divorced, same-sex families, single parent, etc. The controversial part is whether there is real equality between the parents in raising their children. Another issue is that instead of concentrating on respect and appreciate the parents, in many places, Family’s day focus once again on the child and his needs.

This controversy is an excellent expression of the uniqueness within the Israeli society. First, because it gives us another issue to argue about; but more importantly, because it shows how our society never compromises.  We keep improving ourselves, not afraid of self-criticism and always looking for improvement.

Maybe family’s day in Israel is not the most festive, or the most meaningful day of the year, but for a couple in love, they “don’t need a special day to celebrate their love.” I believe that we don’t need a special day to celebrate the importance of family since it’s already such an essential part of the Israeli and Jewish approach to life. In the 30th day of the Hebrew month of Shevat, and any other day of the year, my family is the center of my life, and I love and appreciate them the most.

Yom HaMishpacha Sameach! (Happy family day!)