Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day,
began with an official ceremony at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem, Israel.
Traffic on the way to Har Herzl to get to the ceremony
was backed up for blocks,
it was faster to get out and walk to the shuttle buses,
rather than to sit in the line of cars.
Those watching the opening ceremony at home on TV,
did not have to come hours early and go through layers of security.
But this year I did go and we were lucky,
as it was warmer than usual.
The Holocaust survivor to light the first of six memorial torches was Asher Aud.
His son Tziki Aud leads one of my favorite organizations,
the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin.
As with many other survivors,
without proper food during their growing years,
the children tower over their parents.
Photographers were ready with powerful lenses.
Every beret had to be perfect,
for the honor guard on stage,
standing at attention for most of the program.
One advantage of attending a TV broadcast
is that you know it will start on time.
Even dignitaries had to arrive early, so there was time to chat.
Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau lit the large memorial torch to open the program
and passed the lighter to a soldier who saluted before leaving the stage.
Sanya Kroitor played during the first of the musical interludes.
A large screen on each side of the stage projected
a huge image of the speakers to thousands seated in the plaza.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke after President Peres.
The lights and colors were great for photos,
but I wondered how the view was for two people watching from on top?
Each survivor honored to light a memorial torch stood
as a video with Hebrew and English subtitles retold their story.
The audience was silent,
listening to their incredible stories of survival.
Six grandchildren stood ready to help each grandparent.
At the end of the ceremony, President Shimon Peres went to shake their hands.
Then thousands had to get out of Yad Vashem and to find their way home.
On Yom HaShoah, there were way too many other programs
in community centers, synagogues and schools to mention here.
Israeli flags were flying at Har Herzl cemetery parking lot.
The season “the Yoms” has started,
Israeli flags are popping up everywhere,
first Yom HaShoah,
next week Yom Hazikaron, followed by Yom Ha’atzmaut.
Signs are up announcing the celebration of Israel 66 on May 6.
How could I?
I forget one of “the Yoms!”
As soon as I approached the Montefiore Windmill,
my mistake was obvious.
Busloads of children on school trips are on the streets,
Yom Yerushalyim is May 28.