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May 01, 1992 - Image 141

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1992-05-01

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MAY 1, 1992

A Toast
To Jewish Living


Considering The Message Of Remembrance Day


I recall standing on the Golan
with a unit of the Israeli Army
during a Remembrance Day service.
The children of the area had
gathered together to place flowers
on the soldiers' graves. How many
of those buried on this sacred
ground had been only a few years
older than the children who were

holding the flowers? As we said
Kaddish together, we understood
that Independence Day was only
possible because of their sacrifice.
It was evening and the
members of the kibbutz had
gathered in front of the dining room.
Two teen-agers stood on the roof
and lowered the flags. They would
rotate with other youngsters
standing at attention for the entire

24 hours of Remembrance Day. The
names of the members of the
kibbutz who had died in battle were
read aloud. We could see in the
faces of those with us that these
were their sons and daughters,
brothers and sisters, mothers and
We were just about to get into
the bus when the sirens began to
wail. People left their cars and stood
by open doors with heads lowered.
For two minutes it seemed as if
time had stopped. The silence in
the streets of Jerusalem was not
interrupted, as a nation recalled
those who had died to establish and
maintain their freedom.
These three moments, each
having occurred on a different trip
to Israel, immediately came to mind
as I began to consider the message
of Remembrance Day for those of
us living in America. As a
community we have developed a
magnificent celebration of

Independence Day, but we have not
been able to transfer the power of
Remembrance Day to these shores.
For our children and for ourselves
the message should always be that
freedom and peace come at an
enormous price.
In Israel a solemn mood is
established by the closing of all
places of entertainment
broadcasting, and educational
bodies are required to stress the
solemnity of the day. The Israeli
Rabbinate has prescribed special
prayers for the previous Sabbath
and for Yom Hazikaron. Including
Psalm 9: "For the leader, on the
death of the son," and Psalm 144:
"Blessed by the Lord, My Rock,
who traineth my hands for war and
my fingers for battle."

In a land where soldiers are
always present, where everyone is a
soldier, where the potential for war
Continued on Page 60

Remembering The Ties That Bind Us


A wreath and flag cover remains of an armored vehicle and commemorate those who
gave their lives in Israel's War of Independence.

Last year before I packed my 17
year old off to college, in the midst
of decision making and excitement
and some ambivalence on my part,
I had the opportunity to have a
conversation with a colleague. He
had made aliyah about 20 years
ago, and had raised his family in
As I spoke to him about my
fears and hopes about my son
going off to college, and shared the
kinds of anecdotes that are often
shared at professional conferences,
I noticed that he was somewhat
distracted. I asked about his
children's plans for the coming year.
His son was graduating high school
and going into the Israeli Defense
Force. He was clearly concerned.
He, himself, was American born and
had had no experience with military
Along with concerns about his

child's safety, he explained that his
son might not be entering the army
at the same time as his school
friends. That presented social
problems. As I listened to my
friend's list, I must admit, my
worries suddenly paled in
comparison. I tried to be
encouraging, knowing very well that
I could have been facing the same
situation and was not.

As I mulled over the
conversation later, I remembered an
exhibit I had seen in an art museum
in Tel Aviv several years before. The
exhibit consisted of a collection of
works by different Israeli male artists
struggling with the story of the
binding of Isaac. There were,
indeed, several parallels drawn to
military themes, and sending sons
off to fight for Israel. The thoughts,
once again, made me rethink my

Continued on Page 60



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