Tuesday, May 10, 2016

We started our morning off by doing tzedakah work at Pantry Packers, an Israeli food bank that donates to families in need all around the country. We packed bags of rice that will eventually be a part of larger care packages that will feed multiple families for months. All of us really enjoyed this experience and loved giving back to the community. Feeling very satisfied by volunteering our time, we plan on continuing to give back at home.

Today is Yom HaZikaron, the day of remembering fallen soldiers and those killed in terrorist attacks. In America on Memorial Day, friends and families have celebrations that include parties and barbeques. But in Israel, there is a much different mood. Instead, the people of Israel are serious. They are sad and have heavy hearts. To remember this day, we took a tour of Mount Herzl and visited the graves of many important fallen soldiers. We first watched a movie that taught us about Herzl’s life and his importance to the creation of Zionism and the State of Israel. Next, a few 8th graders read pieces about five soldiers – including a personal story by our guard, Omri. The stories were very emotional and opened all of our eyes to the reality of losing someone important to us as well as the State of Israel. After this very emotional and educational morning, we had some free time at a park nearby.

Tonight we were lucky enough to attend a memorial ceremony on Ammunition Hill (a famous battle spot). This ceremony was filled with many sentimental and powerful stories about Lone Soldiers who came here to defend Israel. These stories helped us to realize the effect one soldier can have on an entire community of people. Overall, Yom HaZikaron made an important impact on all of us. This day filled us with a sense of pride in and belonging to our Jewish community and Israel.

Written by Julia Koller, Mandel JDS 8th Grader

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