Yom Hazikaron – 30 April 2017
Yom Hazikaron is the day Jewish communities across the world come together in remembrance of those who have fallen whist protecting and defending our beloved State of Israel. Each year the South African Zionist Federation hosts this community memorial event nationally. In Johannesburg, this was held at the Yeshiva College campus where over 1000 community members showed up despite the long-weekend.
This year the SAZF encouraged the leadership of all the Youth Movements to run the traditional candle lighting ceremony. Martin Skudicky, MC for the event and Chairman of the Zionist Youth Council introduced the ceremony with these powerful words “When you lose someone, your life and the way you knew it will never be the same! Everything is different…It’s not true that life continues, it stops and then re-starts, differently…”
As the Israeli flag was lowered, Arthur Lenk, the South African Ambassador of Israel, lit the flame of remembrance, which was followed by a powerful moment of silence and Yizkor.
‘Lost Voices’ - a series of readings, gathered together by Dan Bacher was read out by representatives of the various movements - Bnei Akiva, Habonim Dror, Betar and Netzer. The audience clearly moved by these personal accounts of pain and loss were left silent as the candles were ignited in memory of these heroes.
As the evening was brought to a close, the audience was encouraged to consider where we would be without a Jewish State and to participate not only in the Yom Hazikaron ceremony but also in the celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut in order to show our support as Jews in the diaspora and to fulfil our role on behalf of Israel.
Israeli Soloist. Hananel Edri performed a moving song and led the audience in the singing of Hatikvah.