Special Shabbat Shalom for Tisha B’Av

In the month of Av,

especially on Tisha B’Av,

terrible things have happened.

Jerusalem was destroyed,

but the Jewish people have returned.

Har Herzal sign for military cemetery

The military cemetery on Mt. Herzl,

graves at Har Herzl Cemetery

is filled with graves of fallen IDF soldiers,

fallen IDF soldier from Ethiopia

their birthdays celebrated with photos.

military cemetery graves at Har Herzl

So many rows of young people who will not age.

Michael Levin lone soldier killed in action in second lebanon war

Michael Levin z”l is one lone soldier

from the United States who died ten years ago,

military cemetery grave stone

and there too many more to mention.

Yahrtzeit for Michael Levin at Har Herzl military cemetery

As the memorial service for Michael Levin ended,

memorial service at Har Herzl soldier stands near grave stone

another began nearby.

When a soldier dies in battle,

it is said he has “fallen.”

Falling is the precursor to getting up.

There are too many soldiers who fell too young,

 but have left us with a mission and legacy to fulfill.

We must get up and carry on where they left off.

Michael Levin LSC outside of Har Herzl cemetery

May their memories be for a blessing.

שבת שלום

Shabbat Shalom.

New for Yom Ha’atzmaut and Yom HaZikaron

“As long as in the heart, within,

A Jewish soul still yearns,

And onward, towards the ends of the east,

An eye still gazes toward Zion.

Our hope is not yet lost,

The hope of two thousand years,

To be a free people in our land,

The land of Zion and Jerusalem.”

On the eve of Yom Hazikaron,

On Israel’s Remembrance Day for Soldiers and Victims of Terror

flame for memorial days Israel

flames are placed high above on many buildings.

It is a Day to Remember  every year.

military grave

 the young lives lost in too many wars.

There will be 23,320 Israeli flags placed,

one for each of those graves in cemeteries

located throughout Israel.

This past year 116 people were added to the list.

 Year after year much is the same,

as the sadness of Yom Hazikaron,

 is then transformed at nightfall into the celebrations of

sign Israel birthday

Israeli Independence Day.

I love the flyovers.

Knesset building with four planes flying near

 Even the dress rehearsal of the planes

woman looking at sky

attracts attention.

But you have to be quick to get a great photo

view of Jerusalem with 4 planes in formation

 and this year a bird got in my way.

Flags and planes are not the only symbols,

as you can see from this large Star of David hanging on the Chord Bridge.

In Israel, and especially in Jerusalem,

where there are so many ceremonies,

it can be hard to decide which one to attend.

 Some are prayer services.

This new Koren Yom Haazma’ut Mahzor,

with over 900 pages

new Koren mahzor

is a far cry from the xeroxed pages that we

used to use for Yom Ha’azmaut services.

This quality volume not only has all the prayer services

with full English translation and explanations,

but also includes services for

Yom Yerushalayim, Jerusalem Day.

Included in the 248 pages of essays,

are both original writings and some English translations

 of works first published in Hebrew.

The essay “Six Knocks” by Rabbi Joseph B. Soloveitchik,

was written for Yom HaAtzmaut 1956,

but all you need to do is change some of the names

and it could have been written today.

This post began with the Koren translation of Hatikva.

It is difficult, even with photos,

to explain,

 year after year,

what happens in Israel on these holidays.

Perhaps this volume will help those in the Anglo world

to better understand the words of Hatikva.

Full disclosure,

I was pleased to see that so many people 

 I know were involved in preparation this book.

חג שמח

New Soldiers

It is not surprising that the UN is critical of Israeli soldiers.

It is also no surprise that a leader of the tent protest is a draft dodger.

What is a surprise, however,  

is that in spite of what seems to be constant negative press,

hundreds of young men and women from around the world,

still leave their families to volunteer in the Israeli Defense Forces.

One group of August inductees was treated to a Yom Kef, a Fun Day,

at the Zippori Center at the edge of the Jerusalem Forest.

The pool was a contrast to their  base in the hottest part of the country.

Some of the new soldiers are from Austria, Moscow, South Africa, Ethiopia, 

one attended a private school on the Upper West Side of NYC ,

and three were from the Chabad community in Crown Heights.

They are a very diverse group of young men

who share a common dedication to Israel and its protection.


Their officers stayed alert,

but even they were able to relax a bit before the day was over.

Good food and not having to clear your plates were most appreciated.

Israeli soldiers with guns may be the media image,

but for the new soldiers

and not so new soldiers

 cell phones

and smiles were the norm.

After watching a video about the much too short life of

 Michael Levin, z”l,  a lone soldier from Philadelphia, PA,

who was killed in the Second Lebanon War,

the new soldiers changed back into uniform and posed for a group picture.

Even though the party was over,

 there were still plenty of smiles on the way back to the bus.

We wish the 5000 lone soldiers who serve in the IDF a good year

and to all our soldiers…a safe tour of duty!

The Lone Soldier Center in memory of Michael Levin

was started by a group of dedicated volunteers,

many who served as lone soldiers themselves,

after Michael’s death his parents have added their support.

For more information see:  http://lonesoldiercenter.com/

 and 200 more photos on The Real Jerusalem Streets Facebook page.