Monday, May 9, 2011

A Day of Remembrance......
Yom HaZikaron 
It is four a.m. and I am so wide awake thinking about the ceremony that I attended just a few short hours earlier. I had to post a blog.........

In the 17 years since I made Aliyah, I have watched many Yom HaZikaron programs on television. Never have I felt so moved, so touched and connected as I did last evening, when I attended a ceremony on our Yishuv in Ma'agalim.

The program started with Maarvi [the evening prayer] in the shul. While the men were davening [praying] the women and children were gathering on the shul promenade.

Chairs had been set out and the feeling was one of anticipation knowing that at 8:00p.m. sharp, the siren would sound and Yom HaZikaron would officially start.

For the past several years, a siren meant that a grad missile was on the way and people needed to take shelter. But not tonight! Tonight, the siren meant that the men and women who fell defending our country were going to be remembered and honored.

 As the men came out of shul and found their seats, the master of ceremonies, was calling everyone to order. The siren would be momentarily.

Everyone rose, stood quietly as the familiar, blaring air raid siren, filled the cold night air for one minute. In the background, we could hear the last few seconds of the sirens from the other moshavim in the area.

The program started with the lowering of our flag to half mast. Several men were called up one at a time to say appropiate readings. The names of the fallen from the yishuv were read. Even though I didn’t know these people, I felt much sorrow, knowing they died defending my land.

A slideshow was shown commenorating all the funerals our country has had to endure in it's short 63 years.

A music tribute to a young chaiyal [soldier] was also shown. Several years ago, when this soldier was killed, his family took all his letters and with his own words, a song was composed. Music was added later and a well know Israeli singer, recorded the song. What a moving tribute!

When the Rav of the Yishuv was called, everyone stood up to give him covet   [respect]. Rav Moshe Elkabetz has been the rav for many years and is very well respected and loved. He spoke about his friend who was in Hesdar with him [a combination of Torah learning and army] and had died in war. His sadness was written all over his face. The Rav's remarks were short,and to the point for he knew that this was not the time for a long drasha [speech/lesson].

What I found interesting, our yishuv is a Sephardic yishuv. My husband and I are Ashkenazim. It is our minhag [custom] to stand for the prayer El Male Rachamim and Kaddash, but not the custom of the yishuv. 

When these two prayers were been said, we stood up along with a couple of other people fulfilling our minhag. Although, our minhagim are different, the bond that holds us together is that we are all Jews and Israelis and we live harmoniously together.

Torches were then lit by family members of the fallen.

A special tribute was paid to Major Eliraz Peretz a”h who lived in Yishuv Eli, in the Shomron. He was killed in the Castlead- Gaza war and was the deputy commander of his elite Golani Brigade unit. 

Taking video from Israel channel 2, the major’s mother Miriam was interviewed. This is the second son she has lost to war. Around me, not a dry eye was to be found.

An hour later, the program ended with the singing of Ani ma-amin and  Hatikva.

I am so proud to be an Israeli. When we came home from the ceremony, I lit our yarheitz candle to remember those who gave their life defending my country, so that I and my family can live in our G-D given homeland. 

Am Yisrael Chai!

Until next time