(April 13, 2021, Jerusalem, JNS Wire) Today, on the eve of Yom HaZikaron, a day of remembrance for Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror, Masa Israel Journey hosted its annual Yom HaZikaron Ceremony. In accordance with safety regulations set by the State of Israel and Israel’s Ministry of Health, the program was held virtually on Facebook Live through Masa’ Facebook page.
Masa’s Ceremony is the largest English-language Yom HaZikaron event in Israel and is broadcast globally. Hosted annually in Latrun, Israel, the program was partially pre-recorded this year at the memorial site. Hundreds of thousands of Jews around the world tuned-in to the event, including Masa Israel Fellows and alumni and Jewish communities and leaders from the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Morocco, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, the former Soviet Union and more.
The annual ceremony, which has been held for over a decade, is dedicated to lone soldiers and members of the Diaspora community for their contributions to Israel’s story. Each year, 12,000 Masa Fellows arrive in Israel for personal and professional journeys, and they report that the Yom HaZikaron Ceremony is one of the most significant moments of their experience. Fellows across Israel gathered together for community screenings of the ceremony, including Tel Aviv, Jerusalem and Haifa.
Bereaved families from the Diaspora were an integral part of the ceremony. Videos were transmitted about the stories of their fallen soldiers and victims of terror. This year’s program shared the stories of Lt. Alex Singer z”l, St.-Sgt. Yonatan (Sergei) Vlasyuk z”l, Sgt. Julie (Sarah) Weiner z”l and St.-Sgt Yohan Zarbib z”l. A video message from bereaved mothers including Marsha Gladstone, the mother of Yoni Jesner z”l and Alicia Hoffman, the mother of Sergeant Alejandro Alexander Hoffman z”l was also screened.
Benji Singer, brother of Lt. Alex Singer z”l, recited kaddish, the Jewish mourner’s prayer.
Against the backdrop of international flags representing the global Masa community, Fellows Hillel Schwartz from Sharon, Massachusetts and Ilan Leisorek from San Diego, U.S., lit memorial candles to honor Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror.
Exactly two years since the antisemitic shooting at the Chabad of Poway, the ceremony also paid tribute to Lori Gilbert Kaye z”l who was tragically killed while protecting her rabbi.
A speech was delivered by Isaac “Bougie” Herzog, the Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel.
The Chairman of The Jewish Agency Isaac “Bougie” Herzog said: “Tonight we walk in their footsteps, and in the footsteps of all the lone soldiers, who gave their lives so that we could live in freedom. We tell their stories, and cry with their families, for who life will never be the same.”
Masa Israel Acting CEO Ofer Gutman said: “Masa’s Yom Hazikaron Ceremony has become a monumental event over the years. The event provides a unique opportunity for Jews from around the world and Israelis to commemorate Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror together. This ceremony connects the global Jewish community through the story and people of Israel. We are coming together through darkness and lifting one another up. At a time of global crisis, our unity is vital. This is the strength of our Jewish history, and the strength of our Jewish future.”
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Click here to view and stream the event.
Click here for clips from the event.
Click here to view photos from pre-recorded parts of the event.