Akiva Gersh

In Israel, Memorial Day is a Day On

I’m proud that I live in a country where Memorial Day is not synonymous with shopping sprees and mega-sales.

I’m proud that I live in a country where Memorial Day isn’t characterized by a 3-day weekend.

I’m proud to live in a country where Memorial Day is not a day off but very much a day on.

A day kids go to school dressed in white and stand together in silence as they listen to the siren that rings throughout the country, bringing to a complete halt all work, transactions, conversations, cars, trucks and busses…everything.

A day dedicated to remembering the fallen soldiers and terror victims of Israel. Hearing their names and their stories. Crying even if we never met them. Crying even more if we have.

A day where we remember that the establishment of the State of Israel didn’t put an end to anti-Semitism, but it did put us in a position to protect and defend ourselves from it. in a better and stronger way than was possible for 2000 years.

A country that knows how to collectively honor and mourn the dead is a nation that understands the beauty and value of being alive.

I remember and I mourn.

And I am proud to be part of this people, living in this land, remembering and mourning today.

Am. Yisrael. Chai.

About the Author
Akiva Gersh moved to Israel from New York in 2004 and has been working in the field of Jewish and Israel Education for over 20 years. In 2020 he founded @Israel to share his love and passion for Israel with students, schools and communities around the world through his online classes, courses and virtual tours of Israel. Akiva is also the editor of the book "Becoming Israeli" (, a compilation of essays that gives an inside look at the unique experience of making aliyah and the journey of acclimating to life in Israel. He also created a social media platform called "Vegan Rabbi" through which he teaches about Jewish teachings related to health, animal welfare and environmental stewardship. Akiva lives in Pardes Hanna with his wife Tamar and their four kids.
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