Today, Yom Hazikaron (Israel's Remembrance Day), is difficult to observe while living in the Diaspora. Sadly, our own country's Memorial Day has become more a day of barbeques and department store sales than a somber tribute to fallen soldiers. The reality is that most Americans - certainly those in our own community - do not serve in the US military, and so it is difficult for us to relate to the trying experiences of American military families.
In Israel, where most 18-year-olds serve in the IDF, almost every adult falls into one or more of three categories: those who have buried a child; those with relatives who have buried a child; and those with friends who have buried a child. The heavy price of defending the Jewish homeland is felt acutely by every Israeli. On Yom Hazikaron, deep sadness and profound pride intermingle.
Jews the world over are the beneficiaries of the supreme sacrifice of Israel's brave young men and women. Can you imagine Jewish life today without the State of Israel? No words can adequately express our indebtedness to the soldiers of the IDF.
Here are links to two brief videos that hopefully will add meaning to today's observance. The first tells the story of Michael Levin z"l, whose service and sacrifice were honored today in the Knesset. The second tells the story of Roi Klein z"l, whose final moments inspired a nation