A new application helps Diaspora Jews and supporters of Israel commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day anywhere in the world by letting them listen to the siren as it sounds in Israel.
The “Stand Still” app was developed by Israelis Amir Zwickel and his wife, Rotem Lev Zwickel, in collaboration with the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel and the Lone Soldier Center in Memory of Michael Levin.
The Zwickels relocated to New York last year in the days between Holocaust Remembrance Day and Remembrance Day for the Fallen of Israel’s Wars, or Yom Hazikaron. On the first, sirens sound to commemorate Holocaust victims and on the second, they do so in memory of fallen soldiers.
Amir Zwickel recalled listening to the siren in real time on YouTube from his NY apartment.
“And then we thought of the idea: Why not develop a simple application that could allow Israelis – Jews or supporters of Israel who are temporarily or permanently abroad – to connect to what is happening in Israel during these important moments and hear the siren that is so deeply etched in our ‘Israeliness,’ at the same time that it is happening in Israel,” he said. “It is impossible to exaggerate the importance of the connection between Jews in the Diaspora to the Israeli present and reality for the future of Israel.”
The app aims to share “the most Israeli days” with the world, inviting users to “be a part of our community” and to “feel just like in Israel, even if only for two minutes.”
The app can be downloaded to a phone, then scheduled to hear the siren as it is being sounded in Israel or at some other time.
“Holocaust Remembrance Day and Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Terror Victims are engraved in the Israeli DNA, and are a significant part of our culture,” the application states.
“We welcome you to stand with us for the memory of the six million who are not here with us, for the ones who fought and gave their lives to protect us, for the survivors who stand tall and proud until this day, and for the ones who are risking their lives so we can live free.”
Diaspora Jews and Israel supporters can also donate to Holocaust survivors and lone soldiers in need via the organizations that collaborated in developing the app.
“We were impressed with the sacred work these two bodies do and the wonderful people who volunteer there that we were privileged to meet,” said Zwickel.
Former Likud minister Limor Livnat, the volunteer chair of the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel, wrote to The Jerusalem Post that she sees “great importance” in collaborating with initiatives, such as the application, which facilitate Holocaust remembrance for world Jewry.
“We must all pay a moral debt to the some 200,000 Holocaust survivors living among us who have gone through horrors that we will never really understand,” she said. “Each and every one of us has an obligation to act, so that Holocaust survivors living among us will be able to live their lives with dignity.”
Livnat said this “sacred mission” was her reason for choosing to head the foundation on a voluntary basis.
“The life story of these heroes must be engraved in our hearts and burned into the national and international consciousness,” she said.