I was extremely honoured to have been asked to recite the Yizkor prayer at the recent communal Yom Hazikaron ceremony.

The evening was very moving but there were a few lines spoken that really moved me emotionally. The speaker said how there are things in life which are usually normal, uneventful – we don’t pay much attention to them. A knock on the door is one of these things. Yet in Israel sadly and tragically the knock on the door could be a dreaded sound. The reality of a military representative standing at the entrance of the home, coming to inform a family that they have lost a mother, father, brother, sister, son or daughter is something which every Israeli fears. This is sadly something which has occurred too many times in our history.

For five years I had the privilege of leading Birthright Israel programs. Meeting the IDF soldiers who joined our group for a few days on each of the trips was always a highlight and I’ve made lifelong friends from this opportunity. Getting to know these young women and men and then standing next to them at our visit to the military cemetery in Israel, watching the tears role down their cheeks, feeling their pain, hearing the stories of their friends or family members killed serving our Homeland makes this day a very difficult day. There is almost no one in israel who hasn’t lost a loved one or know someone who has been bereaved. This day is painful but we remember their sacrifice and thank them for all they have done for our people.
We thank all the Chayalim and Chayalot who continue to serve and put their lives in harms way.

We might be thousands of miles away but we remember you. We walk the streets proudly as Jews and this is to a large extent because we have Israel and a strong army.

May HaShem bless the IDF and all of Israel and may we merit peace and joy in our Holy Land!

Let the future knocking on the doors throughout Israel be a knock of a friend or neighbour coming to tell the good news of a simcha or even just to borrow a few eggs…let us know no more sorrow!

We will never forget you!

Am Yisrael Chai!

Wishing you a Shabbat Shalom and hope to see you tonight as we celebrate Israel’s 71st birthday!

Rabbi Daniel Rabin

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