From Jerusalem a Week of Loss and Memorials

In Jerusalem, we have begun the annual roller coast emotional time of the YomsYom Shaoh, Yom HaZikaron, and Yom Ha’atzmaut going from mourning those lost in the Holocaust and fallen in Israel, followed by Independence Day.

This year after the October 7 Massacre with 132 hostages still held captive in Gaza by Hamas, mourning is more intense and personal, and celebrations more tempered to mark 76 years of independence.

The flags at the entrance of Har Herzl Military Cemetry were at half-mast as Yom Hashoah was to begin.

As usual, an honor guard stood for the official opening ceremony of Yom Hashoa at Yad Vashem.

The Israeli flag was lowered and the trumpet sounded as all stood for the televised program with 6 survivors, each honored to light a torch in memory of the 6 million murdered in the Holocaust.

Photographers were around to capture the moments as usual in the Warsaw Ghetto Plaza.

But I had already taken a photo earlier of what was new, the yellow chair symbolic of the hostages placed next to the seat of former President Reuven Rivlin in the row for dignitaries.

The crowd as usual extended well back in the plaza.

The torch lighters as usual stood in quiet and dignity waiting to be called upon to light the torch.

As their impressive stories were shared in videos, one for each survivor, I often wondered what they were thinking, standing there before hundreds of people with thousands more watching on TV.

The torches were lit, the President and Prime Minister spoke and the memorial ceremony by the Chief Rabbis went on as in the past, without interruptions.

This week the Israeli flags have been spotted popping up on cars as usual.

But not usual was the gathering before Yom HaZikaron at Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence.

Survivors of fallen soldiers were asked to share their stories with the President and his wife.

Sadly more babies and young children were in the audience that day than usual.

The next day a special showing of Sheryl Sandberg’s “Screams Before Silence” was shown. The hour-long video is available for free on YouTube. The retelling of the horrible events of sexual abuse on October 7 is done with respect toward the victims and should be mandatory viewing for all deniers.

The panel afterward included the director and others involved in the important production.

Outside, the Beit Hanasi back garden was being set up for Yom Haatzmaut’s annual ceremonies.

Flyover rehearsals were heard over the Jerusalem streets. Not everyone was pleased by the loud sounds of the planes, but they went so fast that I could not get a clear image. However, the sounds of cars honking in appreciation were evident after the first ones.

Cemetery in Gush with view of military graves

There are too many new graves this year, and the numbers go up too often, the number of 1,541 has changed again with five new soldiers killed in Gaza.

The posters for “LetThemGoNOW” and yellow ribbons increase daily.

But to end the week of memorials, well into the night, Eden Golan represented Israel well and with dignity in the Eurovision musical competition held this year in Sweden.

She showed that even by coming in fifth place one can truly shine as a winner. Under exceptional pressure from anti-Israel mobs, she performed with class and proudly held the Israel flag overhead.

We have a choice on Yom HaZikaron to be broken or proud, Eden has chosen to be proud.