April 25th, 2023, 11am
I am standing at the memorial ceremony in Kibbutz Kiryat Annavim honoring Israel’s best and bravest.
The silent emotion that surrounds me is as thick as marble tiles I am standing on.
Brothers hugging sisters, sisters hugging parents and parents hugging grandparents.
On this unique day, one has to open their ears just a fraction of a centimeter to hear the countless stories of young soldiers, innocent babies and elderly grandparents ripped away from us in the prime, merely because of their Jewish status of living. My wife and I were at the Dee family in Efrat the other week and the outpouring of stories and memories of the quality of the 3 innocent souls is heart wrenching to listen to without crying.
Yet I stand here respectfully next to the tombstones in the cemetery listening to all the speeches, as an outsider looking in. I don’t have any family killed in Israel’s ongoing struggle for daily survival. Heck, I don’t even know of any Gleiberman’s who has made Aliyah in recent memory.
Yet because I made Aliyah, I am meant to feel connected to individuals I have never heard of before, never smiled or laughed with or broken bread with?
Yes. Absolutely yes.
I don’t need to know someone to empathize with the sacrifice and care that they imparted into me. The knowledge that I can walk and live as a free Jew in the holy streets of Jerusalem merely a few short years after the Shoah is all the knowledge I need.
And no, I don’t know the names of the people who made the ultimate sacrifice on behalf of the Jewish nation, so that people like you and me can live as free people in the one and only Jewish state. And there is the argument to be made that one wouldn’t need to, as the Day of Remembrance isn’t about memorizing a list of names. The Day of Remembrance is about understanding the sacrifice made by others which have held up our nation, thereby allowing us to self-determine our collective destinies.
May those who lost loved ones find solace in the fact that their sacrifice will never ever be forgotten. Ever.
Especially by an Oleh Chaddash.