Israel’s embassy hosts Yom Hazikaron in Canberra

April 18, 2018 by Yvette Goode
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The Israeli Embassy in Canberra hosted a beautiful, moving ceremony inviting the whole ACT Jewish community to commemorate Yom Hazikaron.

Spokesperson and head of Cultural Affairs at the embassy Dorit Herscovich presented the service  which opened with a moment of silence for all of the fallen followed by a reading of “Yizkor” by Shahak Netz.

The program was carefully thought out, with a balance amongst short videos. “Searching For Them” was in memory of Uriel and Eliraz Peretz, “Gates of Heaven” was in memory of Yuval Glick, plus a song and video, “A Million Stars, by Amit Farkash, was a very personal memory of so many of the fallen soldiers.

Two musical items were presented by AJ America and Emily Buckley, “Halicha LeKeysaria” and “Lu Yehi”, with the audience softly joining in for the chorus of Lu Yehi, which was emotive and poignant.

The Embassy had thoughtfully provided a booklet of English translations of the passages chosen for their solemnity. Both Hillel Lehman and Almog Zoosman Lehman, from the Jewish Agency and the current shlichim for the ACTJC, read items, Hillel reading “Hatzvi Israel” and Almog reading “Esau” by Meir Shalev. Additionally, “The Silver Platter”, by Nathan Alterman, was read by Eran Golan, bereaved family representative.

Mark Sofer

The keynote speech was delivered by the Israeli Ambassador, Mark Sofer, who spoke of the gratitude to those who fell in defence of the freedom of the State of Israel. He made the point that everyone in Israel and beyond has been affected by the loss of so many people held dear by relatives and friends.

In his speech he said: “It is their sacrifice and determination that has helped build our nation into the hub of democracy and innovation that it is today; allowing us to set an example to those round us and to produce technologies that are assisting people around the world, sharing our gifts and our human resources throughout the globe.

For those who have lost a father, mother, brother, sister, husband, son, daughter, friend, or neighbor, their mourning is not confined to a single day of the year. They grieve in the everyday as they navigate their lives, painfully experiencing the void. Every Shabbat, every holiday, every time they pass their room, their home, their workplace; there is a notable, hollow absence. For them, every day is Yom Hazikaron.

Tonight we stand united together in grief and gratitude and vow that we will never forget our fallen, that we will carry on their dreams of seeing our state flourish, and we will not ever let their sacrifices have been in vain.

As we celebrate our 70th year of independence, we can do so because of those young men and women who gave the best years of their lives, and indeed their very lives themselves, to keep our dream alive.”

Yael Cass, President of the ACTJC, also spoke movingly about the cost of war, citing some terrible statistics about the losses suffered in the establishment of the State of Israel and its continued fight against terror.

The Chief of the IDF issued a Memorial Day Statement, which was read by Ilan Itav.

The Rabbi for the ACTJC, Rabbi Shimon Eddi, recited Kaddish, as well as the Prayer for the sacred souls of the IDF and Israeli Defence Forces and the traditional El Male Rahamim.

The service concluded with all singing Hatikva. While so many of us in the Diaspora learned the words to this National Anthem of Israel when we were in youth groups, it is important to return to the translation, for the significance of its meaning on this solemn occasion.

“As long as deep in the heart,

The soul of a Jew yearns,

And towards the East,

An eye looks to Zion,

Our hope is not yet lost,

The hope of two thousand years,

To be free people in our land,

The land of Zion and Jerusalem.”



One Response to “Israel’s embassy hosts Yom Hazikaron in Canberra”
  1. Rabbi Pinchos Woolstone says:

    I would like to see the name of G-d inserted in HaTikvah
    He should no be only alluded to as was the compromise struck in the early years under pressure from the dominant secular force in control at that time.
    70 years is an apt time to show maturity.

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