web analytics
December 19, 2014 / 27 Kislev, 5775
 
At a Glance
Blogs
Sponsored Post
8000 meals Celebrate Eight Days of Chanukah – With 8,000 Free Meals Daily to Israel’s Poor

Join Meir Panim’s campaign to “light up” Chanukah for families in need.



The Silence on Israel’s Memorial Day

When I stand silently with my neighbors while the tzefira, the siren, is sounding its awful wail, I am thinking of my daughter.
Israelis stand still on the Ayalon Highway as a siren is sounded across the country to mark Memorial Day.

Israelis stand still on the Ayalon Highway as a siren is sounded across the country to mark Memorial Day.
Photo Credit: Roni Schutzer /Flash90

Tonight, Israel will mark Yom Hazikaron, its annual Memorial Day, known officially as the Day of Remembrance for Israeli Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terrorism.  Arnold Roth delivered the following (in Hebrew) as a speech at a public Yom Hazikaron commemoration in the Jerusalem community where he and his wife and children live.

My daughter Malki z”l was murdered in August 2001.

In the years since then, I have met and spoken with politicians, journalists, diplomats and public figures from many countries. It has been a privilege to engage with them, to address their questions of how it is to live in a society where so many people have experienced personal loss from war.

It is much rarer to express those feelings to one’s own neighbors. What can be said to them that they do not know already?

Perhaps nothing, because we live our lives so close to each other and therefore we share many experiences.  We see each other on the bus and at the kanyon (shopping mall). Walking along the street, going to the youth center or the synagogue, waiting at the same traffic lights for the red light to become green.

With all that we share, it is inescapable that our stories are individual, personal, unique and non-standard. Our experiences in life are like that too: different from one another’s. The music that some of us enjoy is not so enjoyable to others. The same with food, with politics, with the color and style of our clothes, with the books we like to read.

I know very little about what is going on inside the heads of the people who stand on line with me at the supermarket. I expect that what they know about me is very little, too.

Each year, I ask myself: What are they thinking when all of us stand in silence as the siren to mark the minute of silence is sounding?

I know what I am thinking about. I know we are probably not thinking the same things.

There are some who will surely say that what we need to think about is the soldiers who paid the highest price in order to defend our land. Or about the heroes of Israel whose blood was shed so that we might gain our national independence.

How unusual is it to find an entire country standing absolutely still, not speaking, not driving, while an unnatural sound fills the air? And not just any unnatural sound, but the sound of the tzefira, the siren? A sound that, if we hear it on a different day, would cause our hearts to beat rapidly and our hands to become sweaty. A frightening sound.

And as we stand there, no trucks, no buses, no cars are moving.

Several million people, who cannot be persuaded to do something together at any other time, suddenly co-operate in doing something at precisely the same moment that brings no personal benefit to any of us. Why?

I feel deep gratitude to the men and women who fought to defend our country.

But it is terribly difficult for me to think about 25,578 korbanot (victims, deceased). I want to feel the pain of their lost futures. Their goodwill and their dedication to our land, our people and our history and the terrible result demand that I should try.

But in the end, it is a number that my mind simply cannot hold.

I have visited many countries. I have never seen anything like an entire nation of people come to a standstill, leaving their cars in the middle of the highway, standing there on the pavement with their heads bowed. I think it is one of the most powerful and moving sights imaginable.

Even as I struggle to think about the vast pain of an entire nation honoring the memory of thousands of its dead soldiers and police and terror victims, I ask myself: But what does it mean? What good does it do to remember?

There are, as I said, large differences between us. All of us can see that while some of us have paid a terrible personal price for the blessings in our lives, others appear to have been completely excused.

There are people who can explain this. Their explanations do not speak to me.

Even as we stand here in silence, our minds filled with the songs and prayers of Yom Hazikaron night, we know that in a matter of hours the sadness is certainly going to turn to celebration and Yom Hazikaron (Remembrance Day) will abruptly turn into Yom Ha’atzma’ut (Independence Day).

The pain of Yom Hazikaron, as a shared community event, has a beginning and an end. This is how it should be. We confront our collective pain. Then we get back to the challenges in front of us.

When I stand silently with my neighbors while the tzefira, the siren, is sounding its awful wail, I am thinking of my daughter.

This does not make me a bad Israeli, or even a bad neighbor. If anyone asks me what he or she should be thinking at that moment, I will say: If you are asking me, then think about one person.

But I prefer that no one will ask me. There is no right way and certainly no wrong way to remember. No person should feel that there is a standardized and approved way to remember on Yom Hazikaron.

I have learned that the distribution of good and bad does not fall equally among the members of our community.

I don’t know why. I don’t know how to change it. I only know that when we are standing together, with each of us thinking our own intimate, private and unknowable thoughts but doing it together, that we are expressing a special kind of unity.

A people that knows to share pain will surely know to share simcha.

Visit This Ongoing War.

About the Author: Frimet and Arnold Roth began writing and speaking publicly soon after the murder of their fifteen year-old daughter Malki Z"L in the Jerusalem Sbarro massacre, August 9, 2001 (Chaf Av, 5761). They have both been, and are, frequently interviewed for radio, television and the print media, including CNN, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, Al-Jazeera, and others. Their blog This Ongoing War deals with the under-appreciated price of living in a society afflicted by terrorism which, they contend, means the entire world. Frimet is a native of Queens, NY while her husband was born and raised in Melbourne, Australia. They brought their family to settle in Jerusalem in 1988. They co-founded the Malki Foundation in 2001 and are deeply involved in its work as volunteers. They can be reached at thisoingoingwar@gmail.com .


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

No Responses to “The Silence on Israel’s Memorial Day”

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Moshe Kachlon (L) and Avigdor Liberman (R)
Liberman’s Secret Plan to be Crowned Prime Minister
Latest Blogs Stories
Alan Gross (L)

Did Cuba apologize for their spies the way Israel apologized for Pollard?

Torah scroll. (illustrative only)

Nothing binds Jews together more than Torah observance; Or so one would think.

tinsel-314750_1280

Sukkah tinsel decorations enjoy a robust market but are invariably manufactured for “another”holiday

PM Benjamin Netanyahu with Yishai and Tamar Fogel, survivors of an Arab terror attack which killed their parents and 3 siblings.

A number of Israeli papers regurgitated a biased AP article on settlement growth, but they should have read it more carefully before hitting publish.

Many of the battles of the Maccabees were right here in the Shiloh area.

Both Labor and Likud are expected to get more seats in the upcoming elections.

Get a straight answer from Edward de Bono to the question: What is lateral thinking?

Jewish communities worldwide commemorate Yehudit during Chanukah by eating dairy foods in her honor

Israel’s problem isn’t Indyk, Obama, UN, NGOs or even the media; Our problem is much closer to home.

None of the attacks on Jewish & property should come as a surprise in light of the Temple Mount.

No surprise! Israel is now being blamed for Ziad Abu Ein’s death.

How does the new U.S. tax amnesty affect American citizens living in Israel and abroad?

The party chiefs are acting drunk and childish – making stupid mistakes and inadvertently showing their true selves – just like on Purim.

A day dedicated to Torah&tradition; a day of great joy and of great sadness- a brit and a burial.

Who was this Minister of Rage, Ziad abu Ein, and what did he do to qualify for his position as a senior minister in the PA?

JoeSettler explains the electoral mess we’re in, and a possible solution for fixing it.

More Articles from Frimet and Arnold Roth

Australian Ambassador to Israel ran to the hospital in J’m to visit the wounded and to donate blood

PA Chairman Abbas proudly hanging out with released terrorists.

It’s very bad news indeed that the idea of terrorist release is once again under discussion.

The Palestinians remain below the age of responsibility; the source of their behavior always in Israel’s actions.

Our daughter Malki was murdered, because she was Jewish,, by unrepentant Arab terrorists.

Tragedies continue emanating from the decision to release 1000+ terrorists from Israeli prisons.

A rocket from Gaza failed to make it over the fence. It crashed somewhere on the Hamas-controlled side.

UNRWA’s numbers mean half the refugees in the world are Palestinian Arabs.

Mrs. Obama, our daughter’s murder by another Islamist terror group – Hamas – was also unconscionable.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/blogs/this-ongoing-war/the-silence-on-israels-memorial-day/2013/04/14/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: