Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Yom HaZikaron/Yom Ha'Atzmaut

Contributed By Steve Rubin.

Today is Israel Memorial Day.

We remember all the fallen soldiers and murdered civilians over the last more than 60 years. There are no barbecues, no picnics, no restaurants and no movies.

This is a day that all Israeli citizens, Jews, Druze and Beduin alike, mourn the loss of all their loved ones. Those of us who live in chutz la'Aretz share in their pain--Israelis and the entire American-Zionist community. It's very difficult not being in Israel at this time. If you have ever travelled to Israel or lived there during Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'Atzmaut you know exactly what I mean.

It doesn't only hurt for all of our brethren we have lost but also because we are far away from home. The siren goes off--no matter where you are in the country, people stop their cars, the buses halt their service, taxis stop and everyone stands up to honor the fallen. It is one of the most moving moments anyone can possibly have. Tears run down people's eyes, some can not breathe, it is difficult to get back in your car and continue your day.

This is a true national day of mourning. The saddest thought of all is that even today we are losing our brethren and loved ones to terror. Until this specific moment anti-Semitism and anti-Israeli sentiments run rampant throughout the world. We must never forget the Shoah and we must never forget the losses we have suffered since then.

We must wish our chayalim safe completion of their duty and all our Israeli brethren, "no more war and no more bloodshed." Hopefully this will not be a dream and a day will come that our grandchildren or great-grandchildren will no longer have to fight in wars.

This evening, after 25 hours of terrible sorrow and remembrance, begins a new 25 hours. The next day of euphoria, of barbecues, of picnics, of restaurants and of movies. Tonight and tomorrow we will celebrate the 61st Yom Ha'Atzmaut. The founding fathers of M'dinat Yisrael were so very wise to institute such a 50 hour time period. We go to the dregs of sorrow and then to the heights of celebration. We can only thank HaKadosh Baruch Hu for allowing us to reach these days.

Yhi zichram baruch and Chag Sameach.

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