Yom Hazikaron. The siren sounds. The Jews of Eretz Yisrael stand together. They stop. They exit cars. They halt meetings. They stop teaching. They stand still. They stop and stand together to feel, to remember, to honour, to respect, to pray, to mourn, to give thanks. The Jews of Eretz Yisrael stop and stand together as one to feel the pain of loss, to remember, to honour, to respect, to pray for the souls, to pray that no more blood should be spilt, to mourn and to give thanks to the 23,320 soldiers who have lost their lives protecting us. They lost their lives so that you and I have a place to call home, a land that is ours, a country that cares. They lost their lives to ensure that the atrocities of the Holocaust will never happen again. They lost their lives so that you can walk down the street with a kippa on your head and your tzitzit hanging out. They lost their lives so that your children can live as Jews and learn Torah. They lost their lives for you. So why don’t you stand when the siren sounds?

The siren that sounds out on Yom Hazikaron connects us. It connects us as Jews. It connects us to our heritage. It connects us in our mourning. It connects us as those who have chosen to live and remain in Eretz Yisrael. It connects us to those who love Israel from afar. Standing when the siren sounds is not a transgression of any mitzvah, nor a transgression of Halacha. So why do you choose to remain seated? Why do you choose to divide? Why don’t you stand when the siren sounds?

Rabbi Akiva teaches us that ואהבת לרעך כמוך (love thy neighbor like yourself) is the basic principle of Judaism, it is the principle that encompasses the Torah in it’s entirety. Rabbi Akiva teaches us that respect is THE principle with which we should lead our lives. Our soldiers sacrificed themselves to protect us, to protect you, to protect your children. Our soldiers deserve the utmost respect. So why don’t you stand when the siren sounds?

The siren is our cry, the cry of our nation. The siren is our pain, the pain of our nation. The siren is how we remember, remember as a nation. The siren is how we honour and respect, the honour and respect of our nation. The siren is how we connect, connect as a nation. The siren is our shofar, the shofar of our nation. The siren is our shofar, the voice of our nation, bellowing our cries up to the Almighty together as a nation.

So why don’t you stand when the siren sounds?