Oy Bay!

"My heart is in the east, and I in the uttermost west." — Yehudah Ha-Levi

In Israel, on Memorial Day we remember

Posted by jlifer on April 24, 2007

I keep trying to equate Jewish/Israeli holidays with American ones. Halloween is like Purim, Easter is like Passover (or a nonsensical wannabe– eggs and bunnies?). But there it stops. Theoretically Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron should be like Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day, but it’s so much more. On Memorial Day in the U.S., I went to barbecues. In Israel, Yom HaShoah was somberly commemorated by a state-wide minute of silence. Traffic stands still, people stand, lower their eyes and remember. I was on a busy bus at the time, and everyone on the bus arose and fell silent.Remembering fallen soldiers

Yesterday was the memorial day for those who fell for Israel. Again, I was on a bus, full of soldiers on their way home for the mid-week holiday. The bus pulled over at 8 p.m., the soldiers got off the bus and stood in a perfect row. They placed their berets on their heads and bowed for a moment to remember their fellow countrymen. The next day, I was working from home and the siren sounded. I stood up and solemnly remembered. Nobody was watching me, and nobody was watching the thousands of others standing alone in silence in their homes. We were all remembering, sending off our warm thoughts to the families of fallen soldiers, and feeling the sting of what it has taken to make this country. This is how soldiers should be honored.


2 Responses to “In Israel, on Memorial Day we remember”

  1. I’ll never forget the time, in 1998, that I was at Har Hertzl. I saw that note that said, “Achi, Anachnu Adayin Zochrim.” (My brother we still remember.) Somewhere on the note it said 1948. Can you imagine? Years later when I was teaching at a Jewish day school one of my students asked, “Do you think there will ever be a 9/11 sale?” I said, “What?” He responde that in the U.S. they have Memorial Day Sales, why not a 9/11 sale? Americans just don’t get it.

  2. Oyster said


    It was unclear to me: were you teaching at a school in the US or in Israel?

    Sadly, I don’t think that most Americans can find concensus in our cultural observances. We are just too diverse. In more homogenous sections of the country, this trend is reversed.

    The Jewish people, OTOH, have a very strong sense of people/brother/sister-hood, and a strong backbone of beliefs. We “get it”.

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