Sunday, April 18, 2010

Remembrance Day

In Israel, Remembrance Day, when the fallen soldiers of the country are mourned, is much more observed than memorial day in the US. First, rare is the family that does not have a son, a cousin, a neighbor, or a close friend of the father who has passed on in a war. We are a small country, and the toll has been high. And since nearly every family has some member in reserve duty at least (if not active duty), the unspoken fear of wives, fathers, and mothers hovers in our consciousness.
Thus, the general “custom” of standing at the time of the memorial sirens is very much observed, and woe to he who does not stand. There is a problem here, however, in that the chareidim (ultra-orthodox) do not generally stand; reportedly because the standing is a non-Jewish custom. This has caused a great antagonism against them, especially since many chareidi families have sons who do not serve. And this backlash is rather understandable.
I have my own way of showing respect: when the siren sounds, I recite psalms. I feel that a deed in the memory of the soldiers is worth much more than just standing. I think it would be nice for today to try and do a good deed for some else, in memory of those who gave so much for their country and people.
PS. Last Monday, when I pointed out to my ceramics teacher and to Ricki’s dance teacher (both of whom are NOT “religious”, let alone chareidi) that the next class would fall on Remembrance Day, both insisted that the class would be held as usual. I was rather surprised, as both of these are “fun” activities.
I guess when one’s livelihood is affected, it is harder to “toe the line”.
[But if I had been the teacher telling non-religious people that class would be held as usual, who wants to bet that they would have accused me of not caring?]

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