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Yom Hazikaron is a day of mourning, observed across all sectors of Israel. The day is preceded by Yom HaAtzmaut, or the Day of the Dead, which is also observed on the same day. This article explores the different ways in which Yom Hazikaron can be observed, including lighting a candle. Here, we will also explore the Jewish custom of commemorating the fallen by lighting a candle.
Yom Hazikaron is a day of mourning
While Yom Hazikaron was not originally intended as a religious holiday, it is a popular choice for commemorating fallen soldiers. This day is observed by religious and non-religious Jews alike. It is the fourth day of the Hebrew month of Iyar, always the day before Israel’s Independence Day. It honors those who fought for the creation and protection of Israel, including those who died in battle before the state was even founded.
The day begins with a siren that sounds for one minute. Israelis stand silently during the siren. A second siren is sounded for two minutes at 11:00am, marking the start of official memorial ceremonies and private remembrance gatherings in cemeteries across Israel. The day ends officially at sunset, and is followed by Israel’s Independence Day.
Despite the fervor and vitriol hurled by both sides, Yom Hazikaron is a uniquely Israeli day of commemoration. It honors the lives and sacrifices of Israeli soldiers killed in wars or terrorist attacks. Israel’s Memorial Day offers a moment to reflect on the past, present, and future. It is not merely a national holiday; it’s a piece of the Jewish story, part of the larger collective.
There are differences between Memorial Days and Yom Hazikaron, but the two are similar in meaning. On Yom Hazikaron, an IDF officer places a new flag on the graves of fallen soldiers, commemorating the fallen in battle. As a result, there is a unique sense of unity among Israelis. If you’re planning to attend a memorial service for a fallen soldier this year, consider these differences and make sure to take your time.
It is observed in all sectors of Israel
The 4th of Iyar, or Yom Hazikaron, is a day of remembrance for soldiers, security personnel and private citizens who have fallen in wars against Israel. The entire country stops, with the sound of sirens and cars stopped on superhighways. This day is a time to remember those who have fallen and their families. Observance of the holiday is a national tradition, and is observed in all sectors of Israel.
A memorial corner is located at every high school in Israel, containing photos of school graduates who have fallen in battle or in military service. Some high schools have organized ceremonies on Yom Hazikaron to honor these fallen soldiers. Other schools have invited the families of fallen soldiers to participate in the ceremony. Children and soldiers dressed in white shirts add to the euphoria of Yom Hazikaron.
The memorial day is marked by two sirens. One will sound at 8:00 pm on Wednesday and another will sound at 11:00 am on Thursday. When the siren sounds, people should stop what they are doing and stand at attention. Some suggest standing outside when the siren sounds. People should listen to the sirens and take time to remember those who have fallen. The atmosphere is a profound one, which is why people often recommend standing outside.
The modern State of Israel has adopted four Yoms, and Jewish communities around the world have followed suit. All four are commemorations of contemporary Jewish history. The flag of Israel was chosen in 1948 and is characterized by two blue stripes on white with a six-pointed Shield of David in the center. The colors blue and white represent honesty and trust. So the flag is not a day off from work; businesses and stores remain open on this holy day.
It is observed by lighting a candle
Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, begins with the sound of a minute-long siren, and the country pauses for a minute. A candle is lit at the Western Wall, and remembrance services are held at various sites throughout the country. Schools also light remembrance candles. To mark the day, places of entertainment are closed. Radio stations play programs about the wars in Israel’s history and television shows reflect the day’s somber mood.
In Israel, a siren sounds twice during the memorial day. At the first siren, all activity must cease. The second siren sounds just before the public recitation of prayers at military cemeteries. During both sirens, people stand at attention and pay tribute to those who have fallen in the name of Israel. In addition to lighting candles, commemorative events and memorial meetings are held all across the country.
As Yom Hazikaron is a national holiday, Israeli citizens remember the fallen soldiers on Yom Hazikaron. Several towns and cities hold public memorials, while many schools and businesses observe the day as a half-day. It is an ideal time to pay tribute to Israel’s fallen soldiers and to celebrate the nation’s military history and achievements.
While many northerners refuse to commemorate the Confederate and Russian soldiers killed during the Holocaust, many Ukrainians and Russians do. Jews lament their lost comrades by spilling ten drops of wine from four cups of wine, which honors the enemy’s humanity. It would be a communally unwise decision to mix Memorial Days. But fortunately, Yom Hazikaron is universally observed, and can be celebrated by all Jews.