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’:
Holocaust Remembrance Day,
the Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror,
which is immediately followed by
Israel’s Independence Day,
and this year is a big 50 for
As soon as the celebration of freedom ends
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.
Here the honorees posed for a photo before the televised ceremony,
each with their own incredible story.
The lights on the Warsaw Ghetto Memorial Plaza
serve as a hauntingly beautiful background at sunset.
Taps is sounded by a lone IDF trumpeter,
and the honor guard and all assembled stand as the Israeli flag is lowered.
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,
which is held in the Knesset.
The Knesset entrance plaza has new landscaping,
where the flags fly all day at half-mast.
Israeli flags were featured on the Knesset pins given out to guests.
Again, six survivors lit memorial flames.
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.
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.”
from the retelling of darkness in the Chagall Hall of the Knesset,
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,
big ones on schools,
and small ones on a cafe table.
Signs are up for celebrating Yom HaAtzmaut,
Israel’s 69 years of Independence,
but first there will be Yom HaZikaron,
a time to remember those who gave their lives
with annual memorial flames displayed on buildings.
Jerusalem and Israeli flags are flying above the Jerusalem streets,
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
filling the Jerusalem streets with more flags
and joyous days of celebrations.