Best of Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut in Jerusalem

Best of Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut in Jerusalem

Jerusalem, Israel, for the Yoms 

as usual was overloaded with events,

 many this year influenced in anticipation of

Celebrating 50 years liberation of Jerusalem

50 years since the reunification of Jerusalem.

Israeli flags are draped down the sides of buildings.

Israeli flags Israel Museum for memorial and Independence day

These are at the Israel Museum entrance

where the dome of the Shrine of the Book can be seen.

Yom HaZikaron, Israeli Remembrance Day

for fallen soldiers and victims of terror,

began Sunday night with memorials throughout Israel,

and were accompanied by prayers, speeches and memorial flames.

The official state ceremony seen live on television,

was held at the Kotel, the Western Wall,

where President Reuven Rivlin lit the memorial light.

Ammunition Hill on Israel Memorial Day

Sponsored by the Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin,

a memorial service was held at Givat HaTachmoshet, Ammunition Hill,

the site of deadly fighting to defend Jerusalem in 1967.

The program in English was live-streamed

and seen by over 16,000 people around the world.

All day Monday, tens of thousands of Israelis visited cemeteries.

Cemetery Jerusalem 1948-49

This cemetery has many graves from 1948-1950,

 the first years that Jews could not get to

the Mount of Olives due to the Jordanian occupation

and had to find new places to bury their dead.

One man standing by old grave in Jerusalem cemetery on Yom Hazikaron

On Yom HaZikaron, a man prayed by a grave.

Israeli military grave on Yom HaZikaron

A small Israeli flag with a black ribbon attached,

and small bunch of flowers, yizkor, remembers

Flowers, Israeli flag and black yizkor ribbon on 1948 grave

those much too young who died in war.

The cemetery is next to Harel Garden

Memorial wreath at Harel Garden Memotial

and Memorial wall, where this lone wreath was placed.

Walk around the memorial and you can see

At Harel Memorial distance to Gush Etzion lost in 1948 to Jordan

that Gush Etzion is 16 kilometers from Cinema City and

the Israeli Supreme Court and government offices.

Israel Yom HaZikaron at Har Herzel end of day

Tens of thousands came to Har Herzl Military Cemetery

during the day, to place flowers and to mourn,

remembering those lost to war and terror.

Woman sitting near graves of Har Herzl military cemetery Yom Hazikron

The crowds thinned at end of day,

Two soldiers walking on Har Herzl Cemetery

and all headed home from the Har Herzl Military Cemetery.

But as the sun set,

on another part of Har Herzl,

Stage ready for Yom Haaztmaut official televised program

the lights went on this huge stage,

celebrating Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day.

This year for the first time two non-Israelis were selected

with the honor of lighting one of the 12 memorial flames,

Rabbi Marvin Hier and Michael Steinhardt,

Two US honorees in Israeli ceremony

seen here before the official program began.

The show is telecast live and seen by thousands,

Show for Yom Haatmaut ceremony

but watching on TV you could not see them remove

the circle of fire used in one production number.

It is an extravaganza with set rituals,

Israel Independence day starts with lighting of ceremony torch

Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat broke with tradition

when he joined with Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein

to light the official flame of Israel’s Independence Day.

waving flags and cheering

Seats were at a premium, the flag waving,

 cheering crowd did not need a lot of encouragement.

One of 12 torch lighters Chana Henkin

Besides the two Americans, I wanted to see Rabbanit Chana Henkin

 who was honored as one of the twelve torch lighters,

one for each tribe of Israel.

Dr Ahmad Eid speaks at Yom Haatzmaut ceremony

Dr. Ahmed Eid, an Arab doctor, was another honoree.

Military with flags at ceremony on Yom Haatzmaut on Har Herzl

The program featured songs and military colors.

Soldiers form a Jewish star during official ceremony for Yom Haatzmaut

For this shot, no seat in the stands would work,

Sunset at Har Herzl camera over head

only this overhead camera would do.

Afterwards celebrations went all night,

in too many locations to list, with prayers, songs and dancing.

Music for diplomats at Beit Hanasi Independence day

The next day at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence,

 120 outstanding soldiers were honored in the morning

Front row Beit Hanasi on Yom Haatzmaut

and in the afternoon rows of diplomats came,

Yom Haatazmaut at Beit Hanasi

along with one young Presidential grandson,

to pay their respects to Israel and hear the Prime Minister

and President speak on theme,”next year in Jerusalem.”

While the heads of consuls and foreign military were at Beit Hanasi,

Gan Sacher Yom Haatzmaut

thousands of Israelis were in Gan Sacher, Sacher Park.

Lone Soldier Center mangal Yom Haatzmaut

Most of the green spaces all over the country were full of Israelis.

On the radio were announcements of crowded roads to JNF parks.

Couch brought to Gan Sacher

This family brought a couch to Gan Sacher,

which is one way to make your holiday mangal, BBQ, feel like home.

I know this is getting way too long,

but there was so much more,

like the Bible Competition, free museums, and performances.

festive meals, and those IDF flyovers and stunts.

Israel, after 69 years

as President Rivlin said, is young for a country,

 under constant threat and repeated attacks,

yet has accomplished so much.

So it was,

Flowers at Beit Hanasi 69

from memorials to celebrating independence,

so much happening in Jerusalem.

Flying High over Jerusalem

Flying High over Jerusalem

Often in Jerusalem, Israel,

you have to wait to see what will happen next.

Every year for the Yoms, a “dress rehearsal”

or “practice run” is a few days before the annual air show

which is held on Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day.

But earlier this week, instead of the usual 4 small planes,

a lone plane flew over and did a daredevil diving loop.

It was so fast and high, I did not get a good photo.

Then one day there were four planes in formation,

with one looping through the other three.

I got a quick video, it was not easy to see,

but you could hear me say “wow” over the noise of the planes.

At a practice flight on Friday morning,

it was clear why there were more rehearsals than usual.

I an not complaining, I love them all.

This time I knew just where to aim the camera, and

decided to share the video instead of the regular Friday photo.

The full show and real deal is not until Tuesday,

but for now wishing all,

שבת שלום

Shabbat Shalom.

Jerusalem Prepares for Season of Celebrations – the Yoms

Jerusalem Prepares for Season of Celebrations – the Yoms

The Passover and Easter celebrations are now over.

However, the spring holiday season in Jerusalem, Israel,

is far from over.

As soon as those Passover dishes are put away,

it is time for the roller coaster of emotional  ‘Yoms’:

Yom HaShoah,

Holocaust Remembrance Day,

Yom HaZikaron,

the Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror,

which is immediately followed by

Yom HaAtzmaut,

Israel’s Independence Day,

and this year is a big 50 for

Yom Yerushalayim,

Jerusalem Day.

As soon as the celebration of freedom ends

Lord and Lady Gainsford in Jerusalem

international guests gather at Yad Vashem,

for the official opening ceremony for Yom HaShoah,

to remember the 6,000,000 Jews murdered in the Holocaust.

Each year 6 survivors are honored with the lighting of a memorial flame.

Six survivors who light flames on Yom HaShoa

Here the honorees posed for a photo before the televised ceremony,

each with their own incredible story.

Ready for ceremony in Jerusalem Holocaust Remembrance Day

The lights on the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Plaza

serve as a hauntingly beautiful background at sunset.

Taps and flag lowered at Yom HaShoah at Yad Vashem Jerusalem Israel

Taps is sounded by a lone IDF trumpeter,

and the honor guard and all assembled stand as the Israeli flag is lowered.

Flames and survivors on Yom Hashoah Jerusalem

Six survivors lit flames, aided by either a child or grandchild,

with some of the young relatives currently serving in the IDF.

The next day, there is another ceremony, less well-known,

Knesset greeting in flowers outside on lawn

which is held in the Knesset.

Flowers at Knesset Jerusalem Israel

The Knesset entrance plaza has new landscaping,

Israeli flags flying at half mast for Yom Hashao Jerusalem

where the flags fly all day at half-mast.

Israeli Knesset pin with Israeli flag

Israeli flags were featured on the Knesset pins given out to guests.

Again, six survivors lit memorial flames.

100 year old man lighting torch for Holocaust Remembrance Day

This survivor is 100 years old.

The President and Prime Minister attended and spoke,

and the Chief Rabbis added traditional Jewish memorial prayers.

In this televised ceremony as well,

a short video of the survivors’ harrowing stories was shown.

Speaker of Knesset Yuli Edlestein at Remembrance Day ceremony

At the ceremony, Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein,

led the reading of a list of names of those who did not survive.

The Prime Minister, President, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court,

and members of Knesset, all added names of family members

to the list of those who were murdered,

“To every person there was a name.”

However,

from the retelling of darkness in the Chagall Hall of the Knesset,

Rose Garden Jerusalem

one exits to the sight of the blooming roses in the Rose Garden.

Along with with flowers in bloom,

the Yoms are a time of blue & white Israeli flags,

huge ones down sides of buildings,

tiny ones blowing from car windows,

Flags and flowers in Jerusalem

big ones on schools,

Jerusalem cafe Israeli flag on tables

and small ones on a cafe table.

Signs for Yom Haatzmaut in Jerusalem Israel

Signs are up for celebrating Yom HaAtzmaut,

Israel’s 69 years of Independence,

Hebrew sign for Ceremony for Remembrance Day

but first there will be Yom HaZikaron,

a time to remember those who gave their lives

Memorial flame on Menachem Begin Memorial Center Jerusalem

with annual memorial flames displayed on buildings.

Jerusalem and Israeli flags are flying above the Jerusalem streets,

Jerusalem 50 years mew white flags

along with this new white flag,

which marks 50 years of the liberation of Jerusalem,

Hotels are booked out

and flights are hard to come by,

as tens of thousands plan to join in the celebrations of

Yom Yerushalayim, 

filling the Jerusalem streets with more flags

and joyous days  of celebrations.