Friday, April 24, 2015

Hundreds of San Diegans Remember Israel's Fallen Soldiers

On Tuesday, April 21, the San Diego Jewish community came together in solidarity to honor loved ones and close friends who lost their lives fighting for Israel’s independence and its continued existence for Yom HaZikaron—Israel’s Day of Remembrance. The national day of remembrance – observed by Jewish communities around the world – is dedicated to honoring soldiers who fell in Israel’s wars and as victims of terror.

Approximately 500 San Diegans attended the moving ceremony that took place at the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center on the eve of Yom HaZikaron. This year’s memorial service hit close to home for many, as it gave special recognition to the soldiers who fell this past summer during Operation Protective Edge and the lone soldiers who died serving in Israel.

The Yom HaZikaron program commenced with the special recognition of soldiers who recently lost their lives, which pulled on the heartstrings of those in attendance. After the emotional commencement, the Israeli flag was lowered as a siren blared throughout the auditorium. The service included a special candle lighting ceremony, where members of our local community were invited to light candles in honor of family members that they’ve lost. During the candle lighting ceremony a candle was lit for victims of terror in Sha’ar HaNegev – San Diego’s sister region in Southern Israel, which is located just miles from the Gaza border and is constantly plagued by terror attacks, violence, and rocket fire.

The ceremony included a community-wide recitation of the Yizkor – a special remembrance prayer (read only on certain Jewish holidays) and the El Maleh Rachamim – a prayer for the souls of those who have departed; the reading of poems; remarkable video footage; and songs relating to Yom Hazikaron. The program concluded with the Hatikvah – Israel’s national anthem.

The aim of the annual memorial ceremony, which was a collaboration on behalf of the Jewish Federation of San Diego County, Chabad, San Diego Jewish Men’s Choir, Tzofim of Shevet Galim, and the Lawrence Family Jewish Community Center, was to bring the entire San Diego Jewish community together to not only honor all soldiers who died while protecting our Jewish homeland, but also to connect as a one, unified Jewish community.

Toda Raba to all those who attended and helped to make this year’s Yom HaZikaron ceremony so extraordinarily memorable and remarkable.


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