Yom Hazikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut: From Grief to Joy

46010905_s“Israel Remembrance Day, called Yom Hazikaron in Hebrew, is Israel’s official day of remembrance for fallen soldiers of Israel and victims of terrorism. It falls exactly one week after Holocaust Remembrance Day and considering the fact that casualties are very close to home in this small and young country, this day is extremely solemn. You will find places of entertainment closed, flags at half-mast and there are many ceremonies that take place in community centers and by memorials around Jerusalem and Israel.

In a way very unique to Israel, Remembrance Day flows straight into Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel’s Independence Day. As is often customary in Judaism, we remember the heartbreak with the joy. We acknowledge the direct connection between our loss and the independence and sovereignty that we appreciate so much today.

Yom Hazikaron is marked on the fourth day of the Hebrew month of Iyar. All local media channels are focused on this day of grief and two sirens sound during the 24 hour period when people respectfully come to a standstill.

Israel Independence Day: The first thing you will notice on Yom HaAtzmaut, is the emotional transition from the sadness of Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Day of Remembrance, to Israel Independence Day, an official national holiday which has become an important day in the Jewish calendar, being celebrated by Jewish communities around the world. Yom HaAtzmaut begins at sundown immediately following Yom Hazikaron and ends after sundown the following day. It celebrates the declaration of independence of the State of Israel in 1948.

Yom HaAtzmaut is held on the fifth of the Hebrew month of Iyar. The state ceremony that brings in Yom Haatzmaut takes place at Mount Herzl, Israel’s military cemetery, by Theodor Herzl’s grave.  As always, the celebration includes soldiers marching with flags creating many formations, hundreds of dancers, many screens and, of course, fireworks. Attendance is by invitation only and it is televised on Israeli channels.”

Source: iTravel Jerusalem.com

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