The first week and a half of May marked an emotional time in Israel, replete with ceremonies of remembrance and festivals of celebration.
Yom Hazikaron HaShoah, which in English means Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day, is observed as Israel’s day of commemoration for the Jews who perished in the Holocaust and for the Jewish resistance during that period.
Raanana holds a widely attended and impactful ceremony in the center of town that includes many emotional testimonials and tributes. For example, an elderly Raanana resident in attendance was a child survivor of the Holocaust. His grandparents, parents, cousins and siblings were all murdered by the Nazis. He immigrated to Israel after the war without a single living relative. He was all alone. His family was gone.
During this event, he was called to the stage along with his wife, four children, twelve grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren. It was incredibly emotional and inspiring to see him standing so proudly, surrounded by his large Jewish family that he created here in Israel. It was a beautiful moment.
A few days later was Yom HaZikaron, Israel’s memorial day for the fallen soldiers of Israel and victims of terrorism. In addition to the many national ceremonies, Israel sounds the missile alert siren across the entire country as everyone stops to observe two minutes of silence. Even on the roads and highways, every car stops so that drivers and passengers can exit their vehicle to stand in respect.
We appreciated that even at our kids’ American International School, all the children (K-12) were lead onto the sports field in advance so that the entire school could stand silently together when the sirens rang out.
That evening, at sundown, the sirens blared again signaling the end of Yom HaZikaron and the beginning of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel Independence Day. The country erupted in celebration! Raanana Park (below) hosts a wonderful celebration for families that includes games, live entertainment, food and fireworks.
The next day was the National Air Show. The most popular viewing locations are along Israel’s beaches. We enjoyed the show with our friends at Acadia Beach in Herzliya.
It’s amazing to experience how these holidays and events perpetually bond the people of this incredible nation.