Yom Hazikaron – a moving memorial

Andrea Freeman and Dalit Anstey perform ‘A million stars’.

“The young soldiers who died will not speak but we will hear them nonetheless.
The voice is strong and piercing and it speaks to me and to you – to all.
And it calls out the pain of wounds inflicted and the darkness of the senses – and the nothingness of blood. And it calls out the books that will go unread and the movies that will go unseen and the love that will never be known.
And it calls out the brothers and sons and wife and his mother to whom none will return.
And the smell and the colour and the taste that will never be tasted.
And it is the voice that simply answers the questions.
And it is the voice that knows better than we how to understand homeland, eretz, and nation.
The soldiers have given us this with their dying breath.”

This moving text, which was read by Lauren Kessler (head of the Cape Town Youth Council), was the introduction to a very special Yom Hazikaron tekes for the community and Herzlia students. The Herzlia
High school hall was packed with community leaders and members, school staff and students, who all listened silently and with rapt attention to the variety of speakers.

Candle lighting commemorated the fallen soldiers and their loved ones left behind to carry the burden of their loss. The eight candles were lit by individuals representing different organisations, including Habonim Dror, Bnei Akiva, Netzer, SAUJS, the Herzlia High School and Middle School’s Zionist Committees, as well as Ben Levitas of the SAZF Cape Council, Geoff Cohen of Herzlia School and Leslie Marcus, a Machalnik.

Leslie spoke about fighting in the War of Independence in 1948 and about the importance of remembering those who fought and died in that war and the battles since then.
Anat Manielevitch sung ‘Nothing Will Hurt Me’, by Erez Sterk, where the singer promises his father that he will always be with his family and will not get hurt. Erez was killed in the helicopter disaster in 1997. The story of the song and Anat’s performance were extremely poignant. Dalit Anstey sang ‘A million stars’ in Hebrew, with Andrea Freeman reading the English translation. The song was written by Tom Farkash’s sister for him after he was killed as a pilot in the Second Lebanon War.

In addition to the candle lighting and singing there were several readings, a video clip, and Kaddish and Yizkor recitations. The tekes was organised by Lauren Kessler together with Jessica Snape from the Herzlia High School Zionist Committee, both of whom worked closely with Ayal Elbaz, the young Shaliach of Herzlia School and Habonim Dror, to create a moving memorial for Israel’s fallen soldiers.