Tekes Yom HaZikaron - Yom Ha'atzma'ut
A Ceremony of Commemoration and Celebration
Yom HaZikaron, the Day of Remembrance for those who fell in the struggle for the establishment of the State of Israel and in its defense, is marked during the 24 hours preceding Yom Ha'atzma'ut (Israel's Independence Day). On Yom HaZikaron, Jews worldwide remember their debt and express eternal gratitude to those who gave their lives for the achievement of Israel's independence and its continued existence.
Ending at sundown, the somber, reflective mood of Yom HaZikaron gives way to the celebration of Yom Ha'atzma'ut, a transition which emphasizes the lasting tie between the sacrifice of the country's fallen and the continued existence of a vibrant and dynamic State of Israel.
It is customary in many communities to commemorate Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'atzma'ut with a ceremony. Below, we have outlined a typical ceremony which you can adapt to suit your group. This can either be used for Yom HaZikaron exclusively, or it can be used for both Yom HaZikaron and Yom Ha'atzma'ut - in which case we recommend that you run this program at sunset, as Yom HaZikaron becomes Yom Ha'atzma'ut.
To commemorate Yom HaZikaron and to celebrate Yom Ha'atzma'ut via a meaningful and creative ceremony.
What you will need:
You may like to ask the participants to attend the assembly dressed in blue and white, the colors of the Israeli flag. The participants should stand around in a semi-circle, so that in the remaining half of the area can be used as a kind of stage for the facilitator, guest speaker, flags, performance etc. For the Yom HaZikaron part of the ceremony, try to create a serious, somber mood. Use dim lighting, or preferably simple candle light. Distribute amongst the participants copies of the outline of the ceremony, including the texts for any prayers and songs which will be included in your ceremony.
2. Facilitator's explanation of Yom HaZikaron.
Use the text above and text from the Introduction section on Yom HaZikaron.
3. Ask one or more participants to lower the Israeli flags to half mast.
4. Optional: An address by a guest speaker.
Perhaps ask someone who fought in one of Israel's wars and can relate their personal story to address your group.
5. Light the "Remembrance Torch".
In Israel, as Yom HaZikaron draws to a close, a central torch-lighting ceremony takes place on Mount Herzl in Jerusalem, the burial place of Theodor Herzl, the visionary of the State of Israel, and of Israel's leaders and fallen soldiers. Torches are lit by 12 citizens from all walks of life in Israel, representing the 12 tribes of Israel. The torchbearers are chosen to represent phases in the nation's struggle for statehood and survival.You may wish to say the following as the "Remembrance Torch" is lit. (If you group was addressed by a guest speaker - you might like to ask this person to light the remembrance torch.) "We light this remembrance torch as a symbol, to honor all the heroes and heroines; the partisan groups, the ghetto fighters and the underground defenders, the innocent victims of terror attacks, and those who fought in the wars to defend the State of Israel since its establishment, in 1948."
יזכור עם ישראל את בניו ובנותיו אשר חרפו נפשם במאבק על המדינה - בדרך ואת חיילי צבא - הגנה - לישראל אשר נפלו במלחמות ישראל . יזכור ישראל ויתברך בזרעו ויאבל על זיו העלומים וחמדת הגבורה וקדושת הרצון ומסירות הנפש אשר נספו במערכות הכבדות . יהיו גיבורי הדרור והניצחון הנאמנים והאמיצים חתומים בלב ישראל לדור ודור .
May G-d remember His sons and daughters who exposed themselves to mortal danger in those days of struggle prior to the establishment of the State of Israel and (may He remember) the soldiers of the Israeli Defense Forces who fell in the wars of Israel. May the people of Israel keep them in their memory - and be blessed with their seed; let them mourn the splendor of youth, the charm of valor, the holiness of will, and the devotion of sacrifice which came to an end in the heavy battles. May the loyal and valiant heroes of freedom and victory be sealed forever within the hearts of Israel.
מגש הכסף...והארץ תשקט. עין שמים אודמתתעמעם לאטהעל גבולות עשנים.ואומה תעמוד - קרועת לב אך נושמת -לקבל את הנסהאחד ואין שניהיא לטקס תכון, היא תקום למול סהרועמדה, טרם יום עוטה חג ואימה.- - - אז מנגד יצאו נערה ונערואט אט יצעדו הם אל מול האומה.לובשי חול וחגור וכבדי נעלים,בנתיב יעלו הםהלוך והחרש.לא החליפו בגדם, לא מחו עוד במיםאת עקבות יום הפרך וליל קו האש.עיפים עד בלי קץ, נזירים ממרגוע,ונוטפים טלללי נעורים עבריים - - -דום השנים יגשו,ועמדו לבלי נוע.ואין אותם אם חיים הם או ירויים.אז תשאל האומה, שטופת דמע וקסם,ואמרה: מי אתם? והשנים, שוקטים,יענו לה: אנחנו מגש הכסףשעליו נתנה מדינת היהודים.כך יאמרו. ונפלו לרגלה עוטפי צלוהשאר יסופר בתולדות ישראל
The Silver Salver
"A State is not handed to a people on a silver salver"
Chaim Weizmann, first President of Israel
The Earth grows still. The lurid sky slowly pales Over smoking borders. Heartsick, but still living, a people stand by To greet the uniqueness of the miracle. Readied, they wait beneath the moon, Wrapped in awesome joy, before the light. -- Then, soon, A girl and boy step forward, And slowly walk before the waiting nation; In work garb and heavy-shod They climb In stillness. Wearing yet the dress of battle, the grime Of aching day and fire-filled night Unwashed, weary unto death, not knowing rest, But wearing youth like dewdrops in their hair, -- Silently the two approach And stand. Are they of the quick or of the dead? Through wondering tears, the people stare. "Who are you, the silent two?" And they reply: "We are the silver salver Upon which the Jewish State was served to you." And speaking, fall in shadow at the nation's feet. Let the rest in Israel's chronicles be told.
Let the sun rise, the morning shine,
The finest of prayers can bring us back no more.
And he whose flame has been extinguished,
Who's buried in the ground,
No bitter wails will wake him, will him restore.
No one can bring us back from the dark of the grave.
Here, neither the joy of victory
Nor paeans from the brave can help.
Just sing therefore a song to peace
Don't whisper prayers.
Far better, sing a song to peace,
And sing it way out loud.
Let the sun in through the flowers.
Don't look back, let the fallen rest.
Raise your eyes in hope, not through the barrel of a gun.
Sing a song to love and not to victories.
Don't say "a day will come" - go bring that day yourself,
For it is not a dream.
In all the squares, ring out a song for peace.
אבינו שבשמיים, צור ישראל וגאלו,ברך את מדינת ישראל ראשית צמיחת גאולתנוהגן עליה באברת חסדך ופרוס עליה את סוכת שלומך, ושלח אורך ואמיתך לראשיה, שריה ויועציה, ותקנם בעצה טובה מלפניך.חזק את ידי מגיני ארץ קודשנווהנחילם אלוהינו ישועה ועטרת ניצחון תעטרם,ונתת שלום בארץ ושמחת עולם ליושביה.ואת אחינו כל בית ישראל, פקוד נא בכל ארצות פזוריהם, ותוליכם מהרה קוממיות לציון עירך ולירושלים משכן שמך, ככתוב בתורת משה עבדך:"אם יהיה נדחך בקצה השמיים, משם יקבצך ה' אלוהיך ומשם יקחך, והביאך ה' אלוהיך אל הארץ אשר ירשו אבותיך וירשת, והטיבך והירבך מאבותיך,"וייחד לבבנו לאהבה וליראה את שמך, ולשמור את כל דברי תורתיך, ושלח לנו מהרה בן דוד משיח צדקך, לפדות מחכי קץ ישועתך.הופע בהדר גאון עוזך על כל תבל יושבי ארצך, ויאמר כל אשר נשמה באפו: ה' אלוהי ישראל מלך ומלכותו בכל משלה, אמן סלה.
Our Father in Heaven, Rock and Redeemer of Israel, bless the State of Israel, the first manifestation of the approach of our redemption. Shield it with Your loving kindness, envelop it in Your peace, and bestow Your light and truth upon its leaders, ministers, and advisers, and grace them with Your good counsel. Strengthen the hands of those who defend our holy land, grant them deliverance, and adorn them in a mantle of victory. Ordain peace in the land and grant its inhabitants eternal happiness. Lead them, swiftly and upright, to Your city Zion and to Jerusalem, the abode of Your Home, as is written in the Torah of Your servant Moses: "Even if your outcasts are at the ends of the world, from there the L-rd your G-d will gather you, from there He will fetch you. And the L-rd your G-d will bring you to the land that your fathers possessed, and you shall possess it; and He will make you more prosperous and more numerous than your fathers." Draw our hearts together to revere and venerate Your name and to observe all the precepts of Your Torah, and send us quickly the Messiah son of David, agent of Your vindication, to redeem those who await Your deliverance. Manifest yourself in the splendor of Your boldness before the eyes of all inhabitants of Your world, and may everyone endowed with a soul affirm that the L-rd, G-d of Israel, is king and his dominion is absolute. Amen forevermore.
9. Sing Israel's national anthem - "Hatikva".
If this ceremony will also include Yom Ha'atzma'ut, you may wish to sing the "Hatikva" at the very end of the ceremony, rather than at this point.
התקווה - HaTikva
So long as still within the inmost heart a Jewish spirit sings, so long as the eye looks eastward, gazing toward Zion, our hope is not lost- that hope of two millennia, to be a free people in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem
Continuation of ceremony to include Yom Ha'atzma'ut:
10. Ask one or more participants to raise the Israeli flags to full mast.
11. Facilitator's explanation of Yom Ha'atzma'ut.
Use the text from the beginning of this article and text from the Introduction section on Yom Ha'atzma'ut.
12. Optional: Declaration of the Establishment of the State.
On May 14, 1948, on the day in which the British Mandate over a Palestine expired, the following proclamation, declaring the establishment of the State of Israel was approved by members of the National Council representing the Jewish community in the country and the Zionist movement abroad. This declaration constitutes the nation's credo: the historical imperatives of Israel's rebirth at that point in time; the framework of a democratic Jewish state built on liberty, justice and peace, as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; and the call for good neighborly relations with the surrounding Arab states, for the benefit of the entire region. The new state was recognized that night at 11:00 am Israel time by the United States and three days later by the USSR.
The following is an excerpt from the Declaration:
"Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel) was the birthplace of the Jewish people. Here their spiritual, religious and political identity was shaped. Here they first attained to statehood, created cultural values of national and universal significance and gave to the world the eternal Book of Books.
Jews strove in every successive generation to re-establish themselves in their ancient homeland... they made deserts bloom, revived the Hebrew language, built villages and towns, and created a thriving community, controlling its own economy and culture, loving peace but knowing how to defend itself...
The State of Israel ... will foster the development of the country for the benefit of all its inhabitants; it will be based on freedom, justice and peace as envisaged by the prophets of Israel; it will ensure complete equality of social and political rights to all its inhabitants irrespective of religion, race or sex; it will guarantee freedom of religion, conscience, language, education and culture; it will safeguard the Holy Places of all religions; and it will be faithful to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations.
We extend our hand to all neighbouring states and their peoples in an offer of peace and good neighbourliness, and appeal to them to establish bonds of cooperation and mutual help with the sovereign Jewish people settled in its own land."
13. A creative movement performance/song.This time, it should be upbeat, such as a dance with Israeli flags. You may wish to use one of the songs below.
(Please note, this is not a literal translation:)
Tomorrow, in spite of gray and gloomy skies. Tomorrow will be clear and bright.
Tomorrow, we have a hope that never dies. The dawn will soon replace the night.
Sing for tomorrow is another day. Dream a dream that's free of care and sorrow.
When it's dark,Let your heart lead the way, and it will be a bright tomorrow.
Tomorrow, we'll see the lion and the lamb, and they will teach us right from wrong.
Tomorrow, along a battle-weary land. In time, we'll hear a peaceful song.
Tomorrow, we'll put away our uniforms, and warriors will all join hands.
Tomorrow will be a brighter time I know. With faith, we'll build a better land.
(Please note, this is not a literal translation:)
Halleluyah, sing a song. Halleluyah, we'll follow along. With a simple word, a single word
We bless the sky , the tree, the bird, and we'll fill our hearts with joy.
Halleluyah, sounds of love. Halleluyah, the sunshine above.
Halleluyah, the bells will go ringing
And dinging from dawn till night, Halleluyah.
Halleluyah, day by day. Halleluyah, don't throw it away.
Fly and spread your wings, have a try: Be free again like a butterfly.
Come along and sing with us Halleluyah.
Halleluyah, hand in hand, Halleluyah, all over the land.
Halleluyah, let's try from the start
And sing it with all our heart - Halleluyah!
14. Sing Israel's national anthem - "Hatikva".
Refer to no. 9 above.
15. Optional: fire works.
Following the ceremony, you may wish to teach some Israeli folk dances (rikudei am), or just generally dance to Israeli music.