Israel Remembers Yom HaZikaron at 9/11 Memorial
By: Natalie Lazaroff/JNF
Nestled in the hills just outside of Jerusalem stands the only 9/11 memorial outside of the United States that lists all the names of those who perished in the horrific attacks that day. On Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, Jewish National Fund-USA gathered more than 200 participants who journeyed to Israel on its five distinct Israel@70 tours to remember the fallen soldiers and victims of terror who gave their lives for the State of Israel, and those lost nearly 17 years ago in the U.S.
According to Sheryl Buchholtz, chair of the Israel@70 Interfaith Tour, “We must remember that this fight is not unique to Israel, and it’s the reason we stand here today.” The location of this Yom Hazikaron ceremony demonstrates the unbreakable bond that exists between Israel and the United States, as the history of these two countries are forever intertwined. Together, as Jews and non-Jews, Americans and Israelis, we mourn the tragedies of our past, unite in the global struggle against terrorism, and stand together as we push for a better future.
One way that Jewish National Fund-USA is working towards a better future is to help foster an inclusive environment; one that involves those living in the regions of the north and south of Israel, Jews and non-Jews in the Diaspora, and one that includes the soldiers of our beloved countries who did not all wear military uniforms.
The inclusive, communal sentiment in Israel, felt not only by its citizens, has been improved thanks to the hard work of Jewish National Fund-USA. As military service is mandatory for most, people all over the world share in the pride of Israeli soldiers to serve their country, yet there are also those who make the choice to serve, to dedicate themselves to something bigger than themselves.
Members of the IDF’s Special in Uniform choose to join the ranks of the Israeli Defense Forces so that they too can share in the pride of this nation. Jewish National Fund-USA provided this opportunity for hundreds of these determined people to be included in Israel’s story, an opportunity that was not otherwise available. Their involvement and the regular soldiers they serve with has been one of profound admiration for each other, according to news reports from base commanders who supervise both.
On this contemplative day, the audience heard a choir representing the disabled soldiers of Special in Uniform sing “Lo Kala Darkenu,” a song whose title translates to “our difficult journey.” This humbling and inspiring anthem offered a reminder to those who remain dedicated to the future of this nation, despite the battles fought along the way, and who make a conscious decision to devote themselves to the greater good, despite their difficulties and setbacks.
As the ceremony came to a close under the warming Jerusalem sun, six beautifully colored wreaths were placed at the foot of the colossal monument.
Resembling a giant U.S. flag and made from steel harvested from the fallen twin towers, the grey-colored structure brightened up with the flowers added to it by both Americans and Israelis. As part of its mission to strengthen the connection between the Diaspora to Israel, Jewish National Fund-USA has taken the lead serving as the bridge between these two communities, forever connecting our nations and uniting our peoples.
“Today, we reaffirm our solidarity, regardless of our nationality or religion, to stand together and continue to memorialize and remember the victims of terror on this day,” said Buchholtz. “Each year, we continue this tradition, here at this site, as a testament to our shared values and commitment to strive for a more peaceful future.”