Yom HaZikaron

At 20:00 (8:00 PM) sirens cried throughout all of Israel in memory of the 22,570 who have been killed during their service in the IDF.

In my many decades living in the US I never experienced an American Memorial Day celebration as emotional as the ceremony I witnessed tonight at the Kotel (Western Wall); parades, BBQs and big shopping sales pale in comparison.

On this night last year I was lighting the menorah at Young Israel in Cleveland in remembrance of the fallen soldiers, and although it was a special night of videos and moving speeches – and I cried – somehow actually being here makes this night much more personal and meaningful.

Fortunately, Channel 2 News quickly published online their broadcast of the torch lighting and powerfully touching speeches of President Shimon Peres and IDF Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, so you can watch it now (multiple videos on that page, so scroll down) if you didn’t catch it live.

At the time of this posting, Channel 2 is broadcasting a memorial concert live from Rabin Square in Tel Aviv that you can also view on the Internet. Vignettes of the fallen soldiers lives are weaved in between the performances and speeches.

The message tonight is that regardless of religious, political, or economic differences, Israelis have united to mourn and rejoice in the lives of the men and women who made the greatest sacrifice they could so that we could live in this God-given land.

I have no more words at this moment, but A Soldier’s Mother does.

Tuesday Update

The sirens cried out again at 11:00 this morning and I instinctively turned on the TV to make sure it wasn’t a terror warning. What was on the screen? A picture of a candle reminding all Israelis to reflect on the sacrifices of our fallen soldiers. Two minutes later the sirens wound down to a sad whine, a military plane soared above us, and Channel 2 continued broadcasting memorial vignettes of individual soldiers.

If you’re not in Israel and are having difficulty imagining what this experience is like, here are links to a few videos that should help.

The Siren Cries

Watch this on YouTube


Watch this on YouTube

A Tribute

Watch this on YouTube

The Yizkor Prayer for Martyrs of the Israel Defense Forces


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