How to commemorate Israel's Remembrance Day in America

A new project helps Diaspora Jews find meaning in Israel's Remembrance Day.

A woman mourns on Mount Herzl on Yom HaZikaron (photo credit: REUTERS)
A woman mourns on Mount Herzl on Yom HaZikaron
(photo credit: REUTERS)
It’s the fourth of Iyar. You’re driving to work down Jaffa Street when suddenly a siren blasts.
The sound is loud and sharp, but it’s not a complete surprise – the siren rings every year on this date, to commemorate Israel’s fallen soldiers.
You stop your car in a sea of stopped cars, you stand on the road for a full two minutes to take a moment to remember. The power of this moment never decreases.
In America, though, cars are not stopping, roads do not grind to a halt. American Jews, like Israeli Jews, care, and many are looking for ways to commemorate the day.
Yizkereim: Honor Israel’s Fallen is one project to help Jews around the world pay their respects, to mark the day. It is a practical, handson way of letting American Jews do something meaningful to show they care.
Yizkereim: Honor Israel’s Fallen is a project of Olami, an organization promoting Jewish greatness on campus. The project aims to remember the 23,632 people who sacrificed their lives defending the State of Israel this Remembrance Day.
To participate in the challenge, participants can visit, learn about our fallen soldiers, perform a positive action to honor a soldier and post about it on the website as well as on social media, along with the hashtag #honorisraelsfallen.
On social media, participants tag friends, challenging them to participate as well. For every action pledged, a virtual candle displays on each hero’s page, and a digital file of all actions is kept at Mount Herzl and other memorial and educational facilities. People of all ages are encouraged to participate.
The project was created to be personal, allowing participants to get to know the soldiers through reading about their lives. To remember that behind every soldier is a person, with a life, a family and a story to be told. That they had hopes, dreams and aspirations, just like we do. And to enable people to find someone they knew and choose to honor, or someone they didn’t know, but feel a connection with, such as if they share the same interests, name, or age with them.
Although cars are not necessarily stopping in their tracks for two minutes once a year, American Jews can find other ways to meaningfully commemorate the day – whether they want to take two minutes from their day to pause and think, watch videos of cars stopping for the siren in Israel, participate in Honor Israel’s Fallen, or all of the above. There is no wrong way to honor Israel’s fallen soldiers and service people this year, and now we can all do something in their memory to show our appreciation for the sacrifices they made.
The author made aliya five years ago from Manchester, England and is director of marketing for Olami, a global community of organizations committed to inspiring young adults to achieve their Jewish greatness through Jewish learning and practice.