Ari Kalker
We cannot see the future, but we can shape it!

Why is this year different than every other year?

Most years (or “in a normal year), in the days leading up to Yom Hazikaron, my thoughts shift from the normal routine of daily life to a focus on memories of army friends lost throughout my years of service. This year, I have been so overwhelmed with coping under the new “normal” that, until tonight, I completely forgot Yom Hazikaron was a few short days away.

In previous years, I have been able to find a positive message in the sacrifice of our soldiers, and an uplifting thought for the future.  This year the message eludes me. Instead, I find myself yearning for the early days of my army service, days filled with friends who are now no longer with us. But sadly this is not a year we can join together and share our communal loss. It’s a year of isolated introspection

Video platforms and Facebook live broadcasts are a nice way to stay connected to friends and family. But they are somewhat sterile. They cannot replace the physical energy of hundreds of thousands Of people coming together. They are no substitute for our collective heartbeat or a collective voice joined together to sing Hatikvah

This year, we each need to reach deep inside the wells of our emotional energy and truly internalize what a great loss we as a nation have suffered in order to have the gift we call Israel.

Maybe then we can move forward as individuals and as a nation to build a better, stronger, safer, healthier, and more prosperous home for the Jewish people.

About the Author
Ari made aliyah after completing high school in NY, served as an infantry soldier in the IDF, and is a commander in the reserves. He worked for many years with lone soldiers and promoting Zionist education. Ari is was the director of English education at Im Tirtzu and the director of housing at the lone soldier center in memory of Michael Levin. Ari has returned to the for-profit sector and is following his passion for building the land of Israel.
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