Synopsis of Yom HaZikaron:
Between Passover and Shavuot, Israel and world Jewry have three special days of memory and celebration: Yom HaShoah, Holocaust Memorial Day, Yom HaZikaron, Israel Memorial Day; and Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. While these days are typically marked by community ceremonies and celebrations, gathering together is not possible this year. The resources provided here will assist you in bringing your community together, online in new and meaningful ways.
Yom HaZikaron (Day of Remembrance) is Israel’s Memorial Day. In the early years of statehood, memorials for soldiers who had fallen in the 1948 War of Independence were held on Yom Ha’Atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. After Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion appointed a special committee, the memorials were moved to the 4th Iyar, the day before Yom Ha’Atzmaut. The day was anchored into Israeli law in 1963 with the passage of the Heroes’ Remembrance Day (War of Independence and Israel Defense Army) Law. This law was amended in 1980 to Memorial Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars Law.
Below please find suggested links and resources for creating a meaningful Yom HaZikaron this year:
Project Based Learning Opportunity:
Students can compare and contrast Israel’s Memorial Day practices to those of the U.S. or Canada and reflect on these similarities and differences. After exploring links below, students can be asked to research one individual’s contributions and sacrifices for Israel and its people and to present these to their peers.
In Israel, there are two nationwide sirens that mark a moment of silence and reflections. The first is at 8:00 PM on the evening before (April 27) and the second is at 11:00 AM the following morning. Using the links below, consider having your community recreate the siren communally over Zoom
- Footage in Tel Aviv of the country coming to a stand-still for a moment of silence on Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cBgh8xLiS-c
- Footage in Jerusalem of the siren commemorating Yom Hazikaron: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R6rFMUw-pOk, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=shfan7pvZgs
- A dance performance to the song “The Pain of Fighters/Ke’ev Shel Lochamim” by Idan Amedi (co-star of Fauda) performed at a Yom HaZikaron ceremony at an Israeli school: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMAi5PqVH5E.
Students and families can either recreate this dance using Tik Tok or create their own Memorial Day dances using one of the songs below.
- “When the Heart Cries/Kshe halev Boche” by Sarit Hadad, a song commonly performed at Yom HaZikaron ceremonies throughout Israel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bBCIefOfUKY
- “A Million Stars/Milyon Kochavim”, dedicated to Captain Tom Farkash who was killed in a helicopter crash during the Second Lebanon War, is a popular Yom HaZikaron song: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueh5OTZlwYo
- “Cry To You/Livkot Lecha” written by Aviv Geffen and performed by Arik Einstein, a common Yom HaZikaron song in Israel: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dtkHYM35CC8
- Amir Benayoun’s cover of “How Can I Bless/Mah Avarech” by Daliah Lavi for Yom Hazikaron: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uCjHbHrShY4
- Babaganewz, a project of Behrman House developed this lesson plan on the song “Ballad to the Medic/Ballada Lahovesh.” English lyrics can be found here: file:///Users/rwalte5/Downloads/7609lyrics.pdf and the lesson plan can be found here: http://www.behrmanhouse.com/download/file/fid/3414
- An article from the IDF about how Israel observes Yom HaZikaron: https://www.idf.il/en/minisites/our-soldiers/what-is-yom-hazikaron-and-how-does-israel-observe-it/
- An article about the opening of the National Hall of Remembrance on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem: https://www.israel21c.org/national-hall-of-remembrance-opens-on-israeli-memorial-day/
- History of Yom HaZikaron, description of the decision to mark this day (it was celebrated on Independence Day in 1949-1950), traditions on this Memorial Day: https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/yom-hazikaron-israeli-memorial-day
- An article by Rabbi Donniel Hartman, President of the Shalom Hartman Institute in Jerusalem. Hartman talks in this article about the three Yoms, analyzing their significance, their connection with each other, and their place in Israeli society and the Israeli psyche: https://hartman.org.il/Blogs_View.asp?Article_Id=113&Cat_Id=273&Cat_Type=
- On Yom HaZikaron, Israelis wear a special Yizkor sticker featuring a red flower called the Blood of the Maccabees. Israel21C has a nice feature about the flower, the sticker and how it has evolved which can be found here: https://www.israel21c.org/red-flowers-for-remembrance/. Consider having your students design a new version of the sticker or an artistic representation of the flower. For examples of the latter from an exhibition at the The Negev Museum of Art see here: http://negev-museum.org.il/exhibition/blood-of-the-maccabees-memory-and-bereavement-in-israeli-art/?lang=en