Dear Rabbi and Synagogue Leader:
Yom Hazikaron, a day of remembrance for those who fell in the struggle of the establishment of the State of Israel and in its defense, is marked during the twenty-four hours preceding Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. On Yom Hazikaron, the entire nation remembers its dead and expresses eternal gratitude to its sons and daughters who gave their lives for the achievement of Israel’s independence and its continued existence.
Israel is very small, but as small as it is, it was not handed to us on a silver platter. Every inch was gained only after bloody battles. When one tours the country, one comes across many monuments, each of them in memory of boys and girls, men and women, who fell in one of the wars before and during the brief history of the reborn state of Israel. Yom Hazikaron is the day of collective and personal anguish, mingled with awe and honor for the fallen.
In Israel, Yom Hazikaron begins with the sound of the siren proclaiming a two minute silence in which all activity and traffic cease. Flags are flown at half-mast and memorial ceremonies are held all over the country. Ending at sundown, the somber, reflective mood of Yom Hazikaron gives way to the celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut, a transition which emphasizes the lasting tie between the loss of the country’s fallen and the continued existence of a vibrant, dynamic state of Israel.
The IPA of the Orthodox Union feels that the American Jewish community should be a part of Israel on Yom Hazikaron, just as we are a part of Israel on Yom Ha’atzmaut. The girls and boys who gave their lives are heroes and heroines to American Jews as well. We honor them along with all who have given their lives in defense of the Jewish people in our generation: the partisan groups, the ghetto fighters, the underground defenders, and the innocent victims of terror attacks.
We hope all our member synagogues will mark Yom Hazikaron in their synagogues by reciting appropriate Pirkei Tehillim and Tefillot. If you would like to receive a copy of our “mi shebayrach” prayer for the Israeli soldiers missing in action or any other materials, please contact us at 212-613-8123.
We thank Hashem and ask Him for His blessings on Israel so that all of the children of Israel will truly be blessed with peace. As we are with Israel in her mourning, we hope to celebrate with Israel the geula sh’layma. May it come speedily in our time.
Mandell I. Ganchrow, M.D.
President, Richard B. Stone
OU Chairman, IPA Betty Ehrenberg
Director, International and Communal Affairs