Jewish Agency and World Zionist Organization honour victims of Mt. Meron tragedy

May 3, 2021 by TPS
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The Jewish Agency for Israel and the World Zionist Organization (WZO) have paid tribute to those who died while participating in the Lag Ba’Omer festivities on Mount Meron last Thursday night.

Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog (L) and WZO Chairman Yaakov Hagoel. (The Jewish Agency)

A memorial ceremony was held on Sunday at The Jewish Agency courtyard in Jerusalem with organizational representatives saying the mourner’s kaddish and lighting candles in honour of the 45 victims who perished in the tragic event.

Remarks and prayers were also delivered by Rabbi Noam Koenigsberg of Yeshivat Shaalvim, where 19-year-old Daniel Morris of New Jersey who perished in the tragedy was studying.

Another ceremony took place on Sunday evening. The ceremony’s moment of silence, conducted along with the organizations’ shlichim (Israeli emissaries), served as” an act of global solidarity from Jewish communities around the world who are actively seeking ways to commemorate the fallen.”

“A devastating tragedy struck us on the eve of the Holy Sabbath. Celebrations at the grave of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai suddenly turned into a death trap. This disaster put an end to the lives of 45 men, teens and young children,” said Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog.

“The entire Jewish world has come to a standstill. What started as prayers of joy before disaster struck will now become cries of mourning as we grieve the loss of the victims. Tonight, those cries will momentarily transform into a hushed silence when the entire Jewish world collectively takes a moment to contemplate their loss,” he said.

Yaakov Hagoel, Chairman of the World Zionist Organization, added that “the tragedy that befell us on Mount Meron impacts each of us. This loss doesn’t differentiate between one’s type of kippah or colour of clothes, between the length of the tzitzit or size of the hat. Every year, all of Am Israel arrives at Mount Meron whether they be secular, traditional, national religious, ultra-Orthodox, Ashkenazi or Sephardi.”

“Today is a day of soul searching for our entire nation. We have a collective responsibility to accept, embrace and love each other because we are one people,” he said.

“Israel awoke Friday morning to a horrific reality. The State of Israel and the entire Jewish people are pained by the loss of the 45 victims of this tragedy. We embrace the victims’ families and salute the first responders. When one Jew is harmed, we are all harmed,” added Rebecca Caspi, Senior Vice President for Global Operations of The Jewish Federations of North America.

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