Yom HaZikaron, literally the Day of Remembrance, is a day set aside to recall and pay tribute to Fallen Israeli Soldiers and other victims of terror. Outside of Israel, it may seem difficult to connect with the significance of the day. In Israel, when an individual turns eighteen, he or she is required to serve in the army and everyone in Israel can understand the seriousness of the day. On Yom HaZikaron, those individuals whose lives were lost protecting, defending, or from living in Israel are honored with the deepest reverence.
The importance of honoring our Fallen Israeli soldiers should be shared with our American children or other children outside of Israel. Here are ten ways to do it:
(These ten suggestions can also be used to honor American Soldiers on Memorial Day)
1. Make Israeli flags with your children. If you don’t have children, visit a Jewish preschool and make flags with a classroom of children. Or, hang an Israeli flag outside of your home.
2. Interview a soldier. Find a local Israeli who served time in the army and ask them about their experiences. If there aren’t any Israeli soldiers in your area, interview a US Veteran. Express your gratitude for their commitment.
3. Bring flowers to the grave of a fallen soldier from your state.
4. Visit a local military base to say thank you to people who currently protect our country. If you do not have a military base nearby, send a letter overseas to our Israeli soldiers.
5. Check out YouTube. There are several videos commemorating Israeli soldiers. Use the search term “Yom HaZikaron”.
6. Make a contribution to Emotional Support of Girlfriends of Fallen Soldiers of IDF, an organization founded by Phyllis Heimowitz after her daughter’s fiancé was killed.
7. Learn how to hang a flag properly. You can research the etiquette for hanging an Israeli flag, an American flag, or any other flag you might be interested in.
8. Spend some time learning the national anthem of Israel. The song, HaTikvah (The Hope) was written by Naphtali Herz Imber, and Samuel Cohen wrote the melody.
9. Visit the Friends of IDF (Israel Defense Force) website and learn how to get involved locally. For example, you may want to become involved with their Legacy program – which provides assistance to orphans and families of Fallen Soldiers. Or, you may want to buy items from their store.
10. Contact your local Jewish Federation, Bureau of Jewish Education, or other Jewish organizations to find out about events in your area.