This year Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Martyrs’ and Heroes’ Remembrance Day, as it is officially called, was observed from Wednesday night to Thursday night.
The State Ceremony held at Yad Vashem was broadcast live on Israeli television. As has become traditional, Rabbi Yisrael Meir Lau lit the large memorial torch.
President Reuven Rivlin spoke to the crowd, which was so spread out in the plaza that most guests had to watch the large screens on each side of the stage in order to see the program.
After a musical interlude, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke.
Yad Vashem supporters from around the world come to attend the emotional ceremony.
Six survivors, one by one, aided by a younger family member, lit the six memorial flames for six million murdered Jews.
The life stories of the six survivors are presented in six short videos. One theme runs through these brief glimpses into the past: having arrived in Israel after undergoing difficulties that are beyond imagination, they are proud to have succeeded in raising new generations of proud and accomplished Jews.
The past cannot be redone. But,
each year the IDF Honor Guard stands on the stage. The young soldiers are symbols of a bright future.
The traditional prayer for the dead is recited each year. I thought I could hear the words reverberating from the Judean Hills around us.
At 10:00 am, the next morning, a two-minute siren sounded. Jerusalem stopped to remember.
The day was marked by a long list of programs honoring survivors and remembering the victims.
Much more, but I decided to end with the Hatikvah which concluded the Yad Vashem ceremony.
Hope for the future.
Mourn and celebrate.
Jerusalem has a very long list of public events free of charge for Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s 70th Independence Day, iwhich will be celebrated next week.
In one week we went from burnt bread on the streets,
to pieces of crushed matzah.
Tens of thousands celebrated with outings to Jerusalem parks. Hopefully, each year more and more visitors will clean up after themselves.
The best of Passover included the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens. Parking a car was a problem, as it was such a popular site.
Fresh pizza made out of potato flour, instead of wheat, was available in First Station and at many other locations over Passover. Now it is back to regular flour.
Over the holiday week, the furniture, dishes, and equipment were removed. Now even the sign is gone from what was recently Cafe de Paris. This was the site of the Moment Cafe and a tragic suicide bombing in 2002. It also was one of our favorite kosher pizza places as tourists years ago. Now we hear that this corner location across from the Prime Minister’s Residence, where US secret service agents would hang out on breaks from duty guarding presidents, is to become an apartment building.
Have you heard the name Avera Mengistu? Do you know where Avera is?
Next to the Prime Minister’s Residence, where the Shalit family set up their encampment, is a new protest tent.
Avera has been held captive in Gaza for over 3 years, over 1308 days. His family and friends are trying to raise awareness and get Avera, who suffers from mental disorder and was a civilian who somehow wandered over the border, home safely.
In the rain yesterday, there were people still under that shelter and there were protest marches in a number of cities. Today for first time I heard his brother interviewed on the radio.
“WELL DONE, you’re almost at the finish line” was a sign I saw on my way to Gan Sacher on Passover. It was for the full marathon runners as they came near the end of their run. Now that the Passover things are put away and the cleanup is almost over, it feels like I reached the finish line.
However, there is no down time in Jerusalem, Israel,
and the large Israeli flags are up on the Jewish Agency Building.
New flags are flying near Beit Hanasi, the Israeli President’s Residence.
The upcoming Yom Ha’atzmaut, Independence Day, Israel at 70 celebrations are meant to be bigger than ever.
Rehearsals for the opening ceremony at Har Herzl have begun.
Soldiers with flags practice to march for perfection for the live television broadcast.
The huge staging area is under construction.
These are the young men and women proudly serving in the security services to defend the State of Israel.
The secret of Israel’s success?
According to expert strategist Yaakov Amidror, Israelis have a “bad habit” by living life and not stopping with every tension, until the first ammunition is used on other side. The secret is to continue to act as if nothing is happening around us, to live and work and enjoy regular life, to plan and celebrate Yom Haatzmaut.
But when force is needed, as in past wars, to count on the IDF to be prepared and defend us, and to make wars as short as we can.