It’s been five years since I lost my soldier on 2nd day Chol Hamoed Pesach (the week of the Passover holiday). That year, Yom HaZikkaron (Soldiers memorial day) followed on the heels of Pesach (Passover). That day in 2005, Tsiki’s friends and I were on our way to his student apartment in Beer Sheva to pack up his belongings and to put them in storage in his home in Maskeret Batya. I remember a few things from that day, how they stopped the car on the middle of the highway and I heard the sounds of the sirens growing in my ear drums. In 2005, I didn’t understand much what was going on and I didn’t digest how an entire nation could freeze in memory of soldiers like Tsiki. All I could digest was the scorching heat of the desert air and the powerful sun that kept me body warm while I was grieving for my fallen soldier.
When we arrived in his apartment, I remember the lonely feeling of packing up a room that I was just in months before, when music was playing and mnemonic devices of Tsiki’s studying for psychology tests filled the empty walls as I networked on the computer with non-profit organizations in the country.
These days, Yom HaZikkaron has an additional meaning for me. It marks the day when I sat in front of three rabbi’s and six onlookers as I was quizzed for hours about my knowledge of Judaism. It reminds me of that moment when I heard the sirens wailing outside and I didn’t stand up. I didn’t stand up because I knew those rabbi’s in the room, didn’t believe in acknowledging fallen soldiers on this day. Because Zion to them should not yet exist and for those who have sacrificed for Israel have wasted their time. Of course, I did not agree with this. However, at that moment, I did not feel I had a choice. I also felt that Tsiki would understand.
That day, my soul celebrated as heartfelt as any Jewess and Zionist could. I passed one of the biggest tests of my life and although I mourned my memories of Tsiki, I came into the Israel’s Independence day with a profound self realization. Of my inner workings and how I truly feel about Israel.
Yom HaZikkaron will always be sentimental for me, it is also a reflection of the polarized existence we live in Israel. As one of the girls in the Girlfriends of fallen soldiers group told me: “Women like us- we live with one eye laughing and the other crying. And that is how it is.”
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