Blending Sorrow And Joy
Solemn Israel Memorial Day gives way
to the celebration of
Israel Independence Day
Special to the Jewish News
hey should have supplied tissues.
The observance of Yom HaZikaron, Israel's
Memorial Day, held at Young Israel of Oak Park
on May 6 was a heart-rending event. The pro-
gram – presented by Kollel Torah MiTzion of Detroit,
Young Israel of Oak Park and Young Israel of Southfield —
commemorated the deaths of soldiers of the Israel Defense
Forces as well as Israeli victims of terrorism.
More than 200 participants stood at attention as the
Israeli flag was lowered to half-mast. A siren sounded, simi-
lar to the siren that brings the population of Israel to a
standstill for two minutes of silence, in memory of those
who gave their lives to defend the Jewish homeland.
As the memorial candle was lit, Kail Maley Rachamim
("God Full of Mercy," the prayer for the dead) was recited.
A pantomime dramatized the wandering Jew, carrying a
sachel representing the hope of redemption. A video featured film clips of Arab ter-
rorist attacks, with voice-overs decrying the present violence: "Our people are in
mourning ... we are praying to stop this bloodshed."
"Look at these faces, these lives," the narrator implored, as photo after seemingly
endless photo of Israeli victims of Arab terror flashed onto the screen. "May their
souls rest in peace and their families be blessed with strength," the narration con-
cluded. "We will never lose hope!"
In an effort to personalize the tragedy, a special memorial highlighted nine victims
of Ofra, a community north of Jerusalem, individuals who were killed by terrorists
or fell in battle.
"Hundreds of dreams were cut off before they were fulfilled," lamented Rabbi
Shlomo Sobol, dean of Kollel Torah MiTzion. "To those who gave their lives to
sanctify the Land of Israel — your sacrifices weren't in vain!".
As the program drew to a close, Rabbi Sobol explained the connection between
the sadness of Yom HaZikaron and the joy of Yom HaAtzmaut, Israel Independence
Day, which follows the next day. "The revealed miracle of Israel gives value to the
lives and deaths of the fallen," he said.
With that, mourning gave way to gladness as Yom HaAtzmaut began with a joy-
ous prayer service and festive singing and dancing. The celebration continued the
following day with a family barbeque at Yeshivat Akiva in Southfield and a concert
by Yaniv, a popular Israeli singer, who is the son of Akiva Educational Director
Rabbi Yigal Tsaidi.
The programs were sponsored by Yeshivat Akiva, its PTA and Friends of Akiva;
the Young Israel Council of Metropolitan Detroit; Kollel Torah MiTzion; the Jewish
Federation's Neighborhood Project; the Zionist Organization of America; and Amit
Women-Batya Chapter. El
Top: Israeli singer Yaniv, son of Rabbi Yigal and ShulamifTsaidi, Akiva educa-
tional director and musical (choir) director; got the crowd in the mood to celebrate
Y0792 HaAtzmaut (Israel Independence Day).
Above: Rabbi Yigal and Shulamit Tsaidi