In solitude and solidarity – Telfed remembers our fallen in the midst of a pandemic

Residents in Telfed’s Ra’anana building gather on their balconies to pay tribute to Israel’s Fallen Soldiers and Victims of Terror on Yom Hazikaron on 27 April.

At the end of April, as Israel mourned her fallen soldiers and victims of terror, families were unable to enter cemeteries to pay tribute to their loved ones, 96 ex-South African families included among them.

Telfed’s Fallen Soldiers Committee is committed to perpetuating the memory of our 87 Fallen Soldiers and nine victims of terror. Due to the lockdown, we sought a solution to pay our respects and invited residents in Telfed’s Ra’anana building to gather on their balconies, in compliance with the government-issued guidelines, as the first siren sounded at 8:00pm on Yom Hazikaron. Telfed CEO, Dorron Kline, led a memorial service, culminating in the singing of Hatikva, with residents in neighbouring buildings joining in.

New Oleh and Telfed tenant, Gavin Epstein, shared his thoughts on this emotional day.

“I sat outside on my balcony on a Monday evening, in this strange time of solidarity. I watched people together with their immediate families, putting up their flags. By 7:55pm I noticed more people heading to their balconies.

“8:00pm Sirens. Nothing else. Everyone stood with heads bowed, deep in thought.

“All that I could think of during this two-minute siren is how lucky I am. We were paying respect to Israel’s fallen soldiers. Two minutes to remember the soldiers who lost their lives protecting this nation, the country that a few months ago opened her arms to me. I stood in silence and thought about the families who were remembering their loved ones, and I felt more at home than ever before. As the siren rang through our hearts and souls, it was an honour for me to stand together with my nation, in my home. A place where I belong because I am Jewish.

“8:15pm. Hatikva. I closed my eyes and joined in the singing of my national anthem. I thought about my days at Herzlia School, and reminisced about learning the anthem and singing along with my classmates.

“24 hours later the mindset changes. Yom Haatzmaut — Israel’s birthday and a time for a celebration. Again, the venue was my balcony. I watched and listened and sang. The atmosphere was electric. Across the road, a band was playing, piano and all.

It is crazy to think that I am here. I am in Israel and living my dream. Am Yisrael Chai!


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