A new project allows people to remember and pay tribute to the fallen heroes of the IDF and security forces by committing to a positive action in their memory while ensuring that families are not left to grieve alone.
Sponsored by Olami, a global educational movement for Jewish campus and young professionals, in partnership with The Afikim Foundation and Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs, the honorisraelsfallen.com website allows users to view photos and biographies of the fallen, learn about their lives and pledge an act of kindness, charity, prayer or study to honor one or more heroes and keep their memories alive.
An important element of the campaign is the connection that is facilitated between the families of the fallen, and those who honor their loved ones. Many families of the fallen have registered on the site to be notified when their loved one is honored, and to be connected with the individual who is remembering them.
Last year, for example, 12-year-old twins Sara and Leora Joffe from South Africa, learned about fallen soldiers Hila Bezaleli and Hadar Cohen as part of their Bat Mitzvah preparations. They connected with the parents of the two soldiers, and a few months later, the Joffe family hosted Sigalit and Yaron Bezaleli at the Bat Mitzvah celebrations in Johannesburg where the girls spoke about what they had learned.
“You can’t take it for granted. That two girls from the other side of the world coming to meet us and doing this. I have no words. This event today – this is what Hila would have wanted. And we perpetuate her ways,” Sigalit Bezaleli said.
More than 36,000 acts of goodness have already been performed or pledged in soldiers’ memories.
Using the site, groups can also reserve a block of fallen heroes for their members to honor. For example, the Young Israel of Lawrence-Cedarhurst in New York, under the leadership of Rabbi Yaakov Trump, is creating a “Community Collage of Videos” with the help of the website. His members click on his designated group, select one of the fallen, and then create a short video clip of themselves explaining what they learned about the hero, what they are doing to honor him or her, and then lighting a yahrzeit candle.
“When we get to know about a fallen soldier’s life and then grow ourselves in some way Jewishly to honor him, it pulls Diaspora Jews and Israelis together”. It reminds us that we’re one people,” said Olami COO David Markowitz.