Yom Hazikaron

My nation lives, my son is born

My nation lives, my son is born

My new baby boy Amichai Elisha was born on ה׳ אייר, on the 69th anniversary of the foundation of the Jewish State in Israel. There was a lot of speculation that we would choose a name for him that would be apropos to the day with a name such as Amichai, but the truth is we had our Ruach Hakodesh, Divine Inspiration over 5 years ago when pregnant with Ayelet, in case she was a boy. But even though we had it picked out already, the birthday definitely helps enrich and emphasise the context of his name. Amichai is a concatenation of two words, Ami – my nation – and Chai – life, literally “my nation lives.” Our Amichai was born on the anniversary of the founding of the state, which is preceded by Yom Hazikaron, memorial day for our nation’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror. This year the two days were celebrated one day late to preserve the sanctity of Shabbat, such that this year Amichai was born on Yom Hazikaron.

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Posted by Max Rabin in Essays
When the siren sounds on Mt. Herzl

When the siren sounds on Mt. Herzl

The photographs of Israel’s military ceremonies on Memorial Day are usually evocative closeups that are beautifully composed. A young child lies on his father’s tombstone. A grandmother weeps at her granddaughter’s grave. A brother stands silently between the trees, his head bowed. Rows of identical, symmetrical tombstones are punctuated by glowing memorial candles, dotted with flowers, and garnished with flags of blue and white. The images are solitary; the settings expansive.

But if you go to Mount Herzl for the siren on Yom Hazikaron, the scene is very different. As you approach the military cemetery, you become part of one large mass of humanity, bound by a common history, a common fate, a common purpose – and a common deadline: to be at a graveside by 11:00 a.m.

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Posted by Shira Pasternak Be'eri in Essays
To Truly Belong?

To Truly Belong?

I don’t really like crowds. I hate the sense of conformity they inspire, that everyone there is alike and will respond to a spectacle in the same way, undifferentiated.

At the end of Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day last April, I wanted to get to Jerusalem’s First Train station where there was a public ritual to mark the time in between day devoted to the memorial day both for soldiers and for those killed by acts of terrorism, and Israel’s Independence Day. The transition from sorrow to joy can be a difficult and awkward one, to spend a day remembering lives lost and not lived fully and comforting the families of those in mourning, and then at the end of that day to rejoice publicly with dances and parades that there is a Jewish state.

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Posted by Beth Kissileff in Essays
Flagging Memories: From Respect to Revelry

Flagging Memories: From Respect to Revelry

When I was a little girl growing up in the United States, American flags would be displayed proudly on Flag Day and Independence Day. Older people even had them flying on their homes on Memorial Day and Veterans’ Day. And, of course, there were people who flew the American flag all the time — some taking it down at night, and all being reverently careful to keep the flag from touching the ground.

Times changed. Fewer homes flew flags. Fewer people knew it was Flag Day or Memorial Day. It was hard to completely forget Veterans’ Day, because invariably there would be some old fellow with watery eyes shining with an old doughboy toughness from beneath his military cap, his jacket covered with medals of heroic campaigns forgotten. Red poppies used to be given out by the veterans, and flags were posted at the graves of war dead. Veterans’ Day was in November, Memorial Day was in May. The seemingly unrelated Fourth of July was easy to remember, because it was a day of sales and fireworks and barbecues with the neighbors. There might still even be parades…

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Posted by Ruti Eastman in Essays

Israel at 69: Memorial Turns to Celebration

Photo: © Judy Lash Balint. All rights reserved

Towards the close of Memorial Day for Israel’s Fallen, the heavy mood slowly begins to lift as Israelis emerge from the somber day to celebrate Israel’s birthday.

As night falls, bringing relief from the pain of remembrance, hundreds of Jerusalemites dressed in blue and white stream into synagogues all over the city for special prayers of thanksgiving in honor of Independence Day.

The close of the brief prayer service is the ancient call, “Next year in a rebuilt Jerusalem,” followed by a prayer of gratitude for living in the period of the beginning of the redemption and a joyful rendition of the “Shir Hama’alot” a psalm sung to the tune of “Hatikvah,” the Israeli national anthem.

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Posted by Judy Lash Balint in Essays

Remember the Soldiers

Yesterday I was walking along the Haas Promenade, The Tayelet, overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem.

What a remarkable ancient, holy view with the sun shining and reflecting off the beautiful Jerusalem stone. A site that has been fought over for thousands of years. So much history.

#View of The #Jerusalem #Israel #oldcity from the #haas #promenade #religion #religious #holy #holiness #prayer #tmunot_israel #all_israel #ig_israel #israel_best #israelgram #igerisrael #instaisrael #instagramisrael #instagood #israel_life #israel_times #israel_only #blogger #blogging #travel #tourism #travelblogging #lifeinisrael

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Posted by Tova Knecht in Essays