Yom Hazikaron

I am standing amongst the trees, birds cheeping. Peace in the air, I see the tops of trees reaching for the bright blue skies beyond. I look down and see a stone of which a name was engraved on. After a few seconds I get awoken from my daze by a voice. "So this is Yosef Tzvi....." I realise that I am at the cemetery for the fallen soldiers.

Today is Yom Hazikaron. The day when we stand altogether and remember the men and women that have fallen during wars of the past and present.  Battles that most of us have no idea why they occurred or who was involved.  Yet as one we stand and remember the bravery of all the men and women who fought and risked their lives for every one of us.  Many people stand by the graves of people whom they don’t even know.  Today we stood by the grave of Yosef Tzvi, a relative to our very own Rabbi Levinger.

As I stood amongst my Mayanot family, I stood in silence, realizing how precious life is.  To know that I am free to come and go.  To learn.  To stop and get iced coffee.  Laugh with friends and family.  Not having to go and stand on the front line.  Not watching as the next bullet comes out of nowhere..

Then a huge wail comes from the loudspeakers.  The siren blared.  For the 2 minute silence, nobody moved.  You could hear nothing. Complete silence. Like Hashem had frozen the world. The minutes felt like hours, the sound as the siren came to an end sounded like the cry of a person, grieving for a lost one. What can I, a 28-year-old woman with such freedom, take from this 2 minutes in my day? I have decided that I don’t want to wait for this moment that happens once a year, to pay my respects and thank all soldiers for all they do.  I should take the time and effort to thank them now. Not when it’s too late.

I have special friends who are soldiers, or who have been soldiers.  I now publicly want to thank them and all the soldiers out there.  Because of your bravery, you enable me and so many others to have the freedom to live in the holy land.  Thank you.  We will never forget.