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Yom Hazikaron

Siren and Silence

Rehov Pierre Koenig. 11:00 am. Talpiot, Jerusalem.


The siren sounds,

A busy street comes to a standstill.

A call to attention,

A call to unity,

A summons to remember.

The world stands still.

אם יתקע שופר בעיר

ועם לא יחרד?


And I stand and think:

ונזכור את כולם

My cousin Yitzchak Hirschberg, who died in מלחמת שלום הגליל

Danny Frei – Larger than life. Bursting with charisma! How driven to help the Jewish people; How filled with energy, warmth! Killed by a terrorist (in his bed!) in Michmas

Yoni Jesner – my Talmid. What potential!

Yeoshua Friedberg – who served his country. Gentle person. Part of our Katamon "chevra". Picked up at a trempiada. Killed by terrorists. How did he spend his last moments, in that speeding car?

Daniel Mandel - fighter, soldier, officer, from my Yishuv. Parents still distraught

יזכור אלוקים

May God remember them.

(Why do I know so many people...?)


אבינו שבשמים

ברך את מדינת ישראל

הגן אליה באברת חסדיך

ופרוס עליה את סוכת שלומיך

שים שלום בארץ

הגן את מגיני ארץ קדשינו.


הלנצח תאכל חרב?


The siren ends,

It splutters.

Breaths its last breaths.


- silence.


Life resumes,

traffic hums,

people walk,

Continue their daily routine.


But I observe:

A burly taxi driver wiping a tear from his eye,

A young man embracing and comforting the young lady who he is with,

And an elderly man, still standing to attention ... a full minute after the siren is quiet. Still there.

Life resumes?



Yom Hazikaron 5773/2013

After the Siren


When everything stops for the siren,
That is a sacred moment:
Of memory,
Of collective solidarity,

Of prayers,


But equally hallowed is the moment afterwards,
When the siren stops its wail and silence reigns,
A split second of hesitation,

A moment one can touch.


And then,
People begin to walk,
To talk,
Engines roar and cars drive;

When life resumes,
The routine continues,
That is a miraculous moment:
The miracle of national revival.

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