From Darkness to Light - April 14, 2021

Yom HaZikaron – a national day of remembrance – is observed in Israel. The day is dedicated to remembering all military personnel who lost their lives in the struggle that to establish the State of Israel, and the military and civilians who have lost their lives defending it.

Posted
April 16, 2021
Book open with lights pouring out of it

From Darkness to Light - April 14, 2021

Yom HaZikaron – a national day of remembrance – is observed in Israel. The day is dedicated to remembering all military personnel who lost their lives in the struggle that to establish the State of Israel, and the military and civilians who have lost their lives defending it.

Posted
April 16, 2021

JFS Friends – 

Beginning last night through this evening Yom HaZikaron – a national day of remembrance – is observed in Israel. The day is dedicated to remembering all military personnel who lost their lives in the struggle that led up to the establishment of the State of Israel, the military personnel who lost their lives defending the state of Israel since that time as well as the civilian victims of terrorist attacks. At 8:00 PM of the evening of the start of the holiday – and again at 11:00 AM on the day of Yom HaZikaron a siren is sounded and citizens around the country stop what they are doing, wherever they are, and stand firm in honor of those they have lost.

This evening, as Yom HaZikaron comes to an end, the celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut begins. Yom Ha’atzmaut is Israel Independence Day and celebrates the founding of the State of Israel.

It is an interesting juxtaposition that the most solemn day in calendar is followed by the most joyous – that we go from mourning to rejoicing in just a day. In many ways it is symbol of the complexity of life. While sitting Shiva for each of my parents – our grief and tears were punctuated with moments of joy and laughter as friends and family told their favorite stories of times spent with my parents. The customs of shiva also incorporate symbols of hope as an affirmation of hope – an example of this is the custom of eating hard-boiled eggs at the S’udat Havraah (the Meal of Condolence) which is customarily the first meal after returning home from the burial. Eggs are a symbol if life and eating them at this time is an affirmation of hope in the midst of our grief.

Moments of great joy – weddings, graduations, bar/bat mitzvot – can also be moments when the grief for those who are no longer present can become more poignant. This idea is incorporated into many of the rituals for our celebrations – on Passover we pour out wine from our cup to honor those who suffered or lost their lives so that we could gain our freedom. During a wedding – we break a glass in memory of the destruction of the Temple and as a reminder of how fragile life can be.

Hannah Senesh, was part of the resistance during the Holocaust. She trained as paratrooper and during a mission into Yugoslavia to rescue Hungarian Jews about to be deported to Auschwitz she was caught, captured and eventually killed. Senesh became a symbol of idealism and self-sacrifice and her poetry remains today a powerful testimony to her ideals. So much of her writing is beautiful and meaningful – I have included a quote below that seems especially relevant for today:

“There are stars whose radiance is visible on Earth though they have long been extinct.
There are people whose brilliance continues to light the world even though they are no longer among the living.
These lights are particularly bright when the night is dark. They light the way for humankind.”

As we move from the observance of Yom Ha’Zikaron into the joyous celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut we are reminded of the seasons of life that take us from joy to grief and back to joy again.

If you are remembering someone on this day of remembrance I hope that their memory brings you an opportunity to experience, remember and recapture some of the joys you shared with them during their lifetime.

Take care,

Carl

Carl Josehart's signature

Carl E. Josehart, MSW (he/him/his)

Chief Operating Officer

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