Sherri Mandell

What if remembering was an act of loneliness?

Suppose the killers of your son were never found and it was always Memorial Day for you – how would you comfort yourself on Yom HaZikaron?
Koby Mandell (photo by Nancy Lederman, montage by The Times of Israel)
Koby Mandell (photo by Nancy Lederman, montage by The Times of Israel)

Suppose you always remembered and if you forgot it wasn’t forgetting, but rather a lull and the memory would sometimes surface, sometimes invade – not as a pleasant memory but a memory of pain and suppose it was your son who was 13 and he and his friend Yosef had gone hiking and were murdered, beaten to death with rocks.

How would you ever forget? Each day would be a day of remembering. A Memorial Day.

And if the rest of the world continued while you continued to remember so that remembering was an act of loneliness, how would you carry that memory?

And suppose the killers were never found and the violence that killed your son continued and you knew many people who had lost children to terror and you knew that they were like you, alone remembering, even when there were people who loved them and cared for them, but still, Yom HaZikaron was every day.

How would you comfort yourself on Yom HaZikaron, when the siren wailed, and you wanted to be in the pool swimming laps or on vacation in a foreign country, where nobody remembered or even knew that it was a day of remembering your son and others like him?

How could you bear a whole nation’s pain?

About the Author
Sherri Mandell is co-director of the Koby Mandell Foundation which runs programs for bereaved families in Israel. She is the author of the book "The Road to Resilience: From Chaos to Celebration." Her book, "The Blessing of a Broken Heart," won a National Jewish Book Award in 2004. She can be reached at
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