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A Siren to Fallen Leaves – Yom HaZikaron Poem

At 11 a.m., a siren sounds throughout the land calling for a moment of silent standing in memory and honor of the fallen soldiers. The country goes still. Cars stop on the highways, people exit, motionless. 

I too rose in my office toward reflective silence feeling into the deep collective grief we marinate in since the 7th. 

My gaze fixed, the sights outside the large office window, national flags mounted on sticks on top of a fence, blowing in the wind. 

A sudden gust shakes the trees, hundreds of leaves gently FALLING, flags flapping in the background. The poetry of the moment isn’t lost was awesome. 

The falling leaves, the fallen soldiers, Gd’s wind hovering above our raw emotions, the sun bright. Is it Fall or Spring or just a Moment? Startled. 

Picked up the phone to capture film. I hardly ever film moments, actually am somewhat against it, but couldn’t help myself this one time. 

Alas, the wind dies down and the fallen-leaves-memorializing on camera, not to be. 

Stepping out of my office into the street looking across. One tree, only one tree, in direct line-of-sight from my window, naked of its leaves. Not the one to its left nor the one to its right. 

It, and only it, had shed its foliage in screaming siren, in honor of the departed fallen. Diseased, probably on its way to meet its chainsaw, yet a servant of the Great Mystery nonetheless, an agent of a moment, of sadness, of Yom HaZikaron. 

About the Author
Rabbi Modek is the spiritual leader of Kehilat Kodesh Bet Israel in Netanya Israel. Ordained by both AJR NY and Aleph, Alliance For Jewish Renewal, Philadelphia, Rabbi Modek is the former executive director of Hebrew Learning Circles, NY. A native Israeli, and graduate of Haifa University School of Social Work, Rabbi Modek blogs about Jewish spirituality, ethics, Israeli society, wellness, and Jewish relevance for the 21st Century.
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