Study Israel independence, remember its heroes online by Mark Mietkiewicz

There are photographs and biographies for the soldiers and the location of every known grave. The site is entirely in Hebrew, but even if you don't speak the language, it is a moving experience just to click through the endless names and photographs of the people who gave their lives for the country.

As the sun sets on Yom HaZikaron, the mood in Israel shifts from sorrow to joy as Yom HaAtzmaut begins. Why not start the day with a rousing rendition of "Hatikvah"? You can listen to five versions of Israel's anthem at the Israeli-Jewish Yiddish-Hebrew-Folk-Cultural Music Midi Free Library — at israelmidi/index.html#FOLK

You can also read a fascinating article about "Hatikvah" originally published in the Israel Review at

There's quite a bit of debate about the origins of the melody. Some trace it to "The Moldau" by Czech composer Bedrich Smetana (1824-1884). If you have the time and a fast connection, download Smetana's work

The Israeli government's foreign affairs site has an explanation of some of the country's other national symbols, such as its flag and the menorah, or the full English text of Israel's Declaration of Independence. It's at mfa/go.asp?MFAH00k90

The first five decades of the state of Israel have been miraculous, but in an article on the Aish HaTorah Yeshiva Web site, Rabbi Noah Weinberg suggests that instead of finding its own moral path, Israel has fallen in love with Western consumerism holiday_page.asp

Weinberg, who is Aish HaTorah's founder and dean, argues that Israel has forgotten how to play a leadership role of tikkun olam (repairing the world) and that it must re-examine its reason for existence.

For more thoughts about the religious role of the Jewish state, listen to, at independence.html

You'll hear lectures from such speakers as Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, and Rabbi Berel Wein with a story about the last night of the British Mandate.

Birthdays are also a time to celebrate, so make sure you point both your kids toward Nurit Reshef's "100 Years of Zionism/Israel's 50th Anniversary" Web page at zionism/zionism.html

The Edmonton, Alberta, educator offers a site that both amuses and entertains. There are plenty of Java-based games — everything from assembling the map of Israel on your screen, to a quiz about Israel's leaders.

For more Yom HaAtzmaut links, take a look at two other Web sites: Maven at subjects.asp?S=129 and the Virtual Jerusalem site at

And if you can't make it to Israel this year, you can still peek in on the festivities. Aish HaTorah has installed a live camera focused on the Western Wall, at

The camera refreshes every minute so you can follow the ebb and flow of the crowd at the Kotel. Watch long enough and who knows who you might run into.

Have a very happy Yom HaAtzmaut.