New initiative commemorates fallen IDF soldiers and terror victims worldwide

Taking place on Memorial Day, “Remembering Together” strives to create a sense of global Jewish unity following Oct. 7.

Israeli soldiers stand still during a ceremony marking Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, May 12, 2024. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.
Israeli soldiers stand still during a ceremony marking Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) at the Western Wall in Jerusalem's Old City, May 12, 2024. Photo by Chaim Goldberg/Flash90.

A new joint initiative of the Israeli government’s Ministry for Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism, Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the World Zionist Organization and the Ruderman Family Foundation is emphasizing the importance of the Jewish people collectively commemorating fallen Israel Defense Force soldiers, as well as victims of terror in Israel and around the world.

The “Remembering Together” campaign kicks off May 13, as Israel marks the 76th Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) and urges Jews across the globe to collectively mourn and remember the thousands of people who have perished because they were Jewish, either in Israel or the Diaspora. The goal of the initiative is to spur change in how Israel traditionally marks its Memorial Day, making it a day that highlights the shared fate of Jews worldwide rather than only in Israel. This way, Yom Hazikaron will become known not just as a somber day for Israelis but as a meaningful commemoration for the entire Jewish community.

With the project being launched in the continued aftermath of the Oct. 7 terrorist attacks, the partners of the initiative believe this is the time to reach out to as many Jews as possible and underscore the notion that Jewish stories of tragedy are not limited to Israelis.

Accordingly, “Remembering Together” hopes to accomplish the following goals: to create a sense of unity following Oct. 7 and, amid the ongoing rise of antisemitism worldwide, to commemorate and remember the scale of the tragedy Jews endured as a people, as well as foster resilience recognizing that Israel and the Jewish people worldwide are stronger together.

The initiative features a website and a database of educational materials available in several languages geared to educate Jewish communities and delegations visiting Israel. The educational materials will also be revealed during a ceremony in Washington, D.C.

Communities, organizations and institutions such as schools, synagogues, community centers, and even grassroots groups in private homes, are encouraged to make use of these materials and hold their own ceremonies to unite in prayer and in commemoration of all those who have lost their lives in horrific attacks against the Jewish people.

Further, to raise global awareness about the initiative and its message, the Remembering Together logo can be used in various documents, photos and videos. The Foundation encourages users to share these materials on social media under the hashtag: #rememberingtogether.

Shira Ruderman, executive director of the Ruderman Family Foundation, said: “This year more than ever, we must strengthen the resilience of the Jewish people and their bond with Israel for the sake of the future of the country but also of the future of us as a people. Oct. 7 marked a historical moment for the Jewish people and the State of Israel, and in its wake, there must be a fundamental change in how we commemorate Jews who perished around the world.”

“The terror attack of Oct. 7 has led to an unprecedented wave of antisemitism,” said Israeli Minister of Diaspora Affairs and Combating Antisemitism Amichai Chikli. “During this time the Jewish people’s solidarity is more important than ever. The Remembering Together commemoration project offers tools for Jewish communities around the world to take part in this holy and important day, in which we will unite in remembering the murdered and the fallen. Together we will remember, and together we will win.”

Yaakov Hagoel, chairman of the World Zionist Organization, said: “Two years ago, the World Zionist Organization turned to the State of Israel requesting recognition for Jews who were murdered in antisemitic attacks in the Diaspora due to their Jewishness. Today, the World Zionist Organization’s initiative together with the Ruderman Foundation and the Ministry of Diaspora Affairs has made a new and important step. This step highlights the importance of our mutual responsibility towards our brothers and sisters in the Diaspora. As the Swords of Iron War rages on and antisemitism reaches an astonishing peak—the likes of which we haven’t seen since World War Two—our moral obligation of counting the bereaved families of the Diaspora together with the bereaved families of Israel while commemorating the fallen as a part of our nation’s long journey and shared destiny is crucial.”

As part of the mission to expand the criteria of who should be commemorated on Yom Hazikaron, the Ruderman Family Foundation created a digital database of the stories of individuals outside of Israel who have lost their lives due to antisemitism and who are not yet officially recognized by the Israeli government since they are not citizens of the country. The partnership is also exploring erecting a new monument in memory of those victims.

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The Ruderman Family Foundation is a private philanthropic foundation established in 2002 managed by the Ruderman family. The foundation operates in the United States and Israel to advocate for and advance the inclusion of people with disabilities throughout our society; strengthen the relationship between Israel and the American Jewish Community; and model the practice of strategic philanthropy worldwide. In the field of Israel-American Jewish relations, the foundation focuses on fostering a sense of mutual commitment between the State of Israel and the Jewish community in the United States. The organization aims to raise awareness, generate and disseminate knowledge, and promote positive attitudes among the Israeli public towards the American Jewish community. The Ruderman Family Foundation believes that the partnership between Israel and the American Jewish community is a strategic asset to the strength and prosperity of Israel and the entire Jewish people. See more at: https://rudermanfoundation.org/
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