Temple program is both solemn and festive

A solemn Yom Hazikaron (Israel Memorial Day) ceremony remembering Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror transitioned into a festive Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day) celebration on May 1 at Congregation Kol Tikvah in Parkland.

“It’s always hard to go from the transition of Yom Hazikaron, which is a sad day, but in unique Israeli and Jewish perspective, that’s what we do,” said Rabbi Bradd Boxman of Congregation Kol Tikvah during the Independence Day celebration. “We don’t dwell on the sad. We try to remember that life goes on and we live for the living and we remember those who died by living our lives most fully, even in the shadow of sadness. We go from sad to happy, even in the flick of a switch.”

This annual Israel Memorial Day ceremony took place in the congregation’s sanctuary and commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Six-Day War, which was fought in June, 1967 between Israel and the neighboring states of Egypt, Jordan and Syria. Israel was victorious and recovered large tracts of Arab territory, including the Jordanian portion of Jerusalem that includes the Temple Mount and the Western Wall.

Boxman estimated that more than 500 people attended the event and thought the ceremony was emotional, meaningful and especially current.

“Many people lived through the Six-Day War and can remember that, so it’s very personal for a lot of people and I thought it was a very beautiful service as it always is. It was an honor for our congregation to be able to host the event for the 13th year.”



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The ceremony included a minute of silence, lowering of the Israeli flag to half mast, a candlelighting ceremony in memory of family members lost in different Israeli wars, a powerful and emotional short movie about the Six-Day War that included the iconic song “Yerushalayim Shel Zahav” (Jerusalem of Gold), a moving photo presentation of faces of the fallen, reading of texts of soldiers that died in wars, a personal war story that received applause and more.

Ariela Benit, the organizer of the annual Memorial Day program, said that the audience was very moved by the ceremony.

“I feel that most of the moving opinions I heard were from the elderly, because they were in that war, so I believe the movies and the stories really impacted them much more than the younger generation, but in general I got many positive reactions,” Benit noted. “People loved it very much. I was surprised to hear that many loved the idea of singing along. I was amazed to hear that.”

Israel Defense Forces veterans, Raina Russo of Delray Beach and Avital Greenfest of Boca Raton, felt that this transition is what they grew up with.

“That’s what Israel is all about,” Russo said. “This event feels very Israeli. We go from recognizing what we fought for, remembering the fallen and then celebrating Israel.”

Greenfest said, “I think it’s really nice to see everyone come together, even when they’re not in Israel, to still remember in community.”

Kevin Dutt of Coconut Creek said the event’s transition was a “wonderful thing.”

“It gives fullness to life because one can only experience true joy by experiencing unfortunate circumstances.”

Article source: http://www.sun-sentinel.com/local/broward/parkland/fl-jjbn-koltikvah-0510-20170505-story.html

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