Below is a collection of Yom Hazikaron lesson plans, interactive tools, and articles created by The Lookstein Center staff or contributed to the site by Jewish educators.
Yom Hazikaron Overview
- What: Yom Hazikaron L’Chalalei Me’archot Yisrael, יום הזיכרון לחללי מערכות ישראל, is the official remembrance day for fallen Israeli soldiers and victims of terror.
- When: Yom Hazikaron is on the 4th of Iyyar, intentionally set as the day preceding Yom Haatzmaut -Israeli Independence day- in order to remind us of the sacrifices made for the independent State of Israel. This year (2020) Yom Hazikaron begins on the evening of Monday, April 27th until the following evening, Tuesday, April 28th.
- Where: Yom Hazikaron is an Israeli national holiday but is recognized by Jews around the world.
- How: Yom Hazikaron opens with a minute-long siren at 8:00 pm. There are remembrance ceremonies throughout Israel that take place in the evening in addition to ceremonies throughout the following day. The country’s main nighttime ceremony takes place at the Western Wall and the main day time memorial service occurs on Mount Herzl (the official military cemetery.) At 11 am, there is another 2 minute-long siren that is sounded. All places of entertainment are closed and television channels play the names of every fallen soldier. The day ends with a Tekes Ma’avar (transitional ceremony) into Independence Day that takes place on Mount Herzl.
*NOTE: Many schools and communities worldwide combine Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut ceremonies and commemorations. Click here for a full list of Yom Haatzmaut resources.
Yom Hazikaron Vocabulary
The Hebrew term for Israeli fallen soldiers
|Nifga’ay Peulot Aivah/Terror
נפגעי פעולות איבה/טרור
The Hebrew term for victims of terror
The ceremony that takes place as a transition between Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut. Israel’s official ceremony takes place on Mount Herzl, where they remember the fallen and also rejoice in the present by celebrating outstanding individuals in the State of Israel and performing songs and dances.
|Mount Herzl (Har Herzl)
|The official military cemetery and the burial place of Israel’s leaders, (including Theodor Herzl, the visionary of the state of Israel).|
|The Hebrew word for siren- a siren is played throughout Israel twice over the course of Yom Hazikaron, once at 8:00 pm (for one minute) at the start of the memorial day, and once at 11:00 am (for two minutes) the following morning. The whole country stands in a moment of silence to remember the fallen.|
Yom Hazikaron Educational Themes
- National Identity
- Sacrifice of the Individual for the Nation
- Remembering the Fallen
- National Memory versus Individual Memory (Personal Loss versus National Loss)
Ideas for Commemoration
- Read thematic poetry, such as the ones found here.
- Research an individual fallen soldier.
- Discuss family connections to the IDF.
- Light memorial candles and recite traditional memorial prayers.
- Have a traditional commemorative ceremony, such as the ones described here or here.
- Contact a speaker to come to your classroom.
RESOURCES AND USEFUL WEBSITES
Izkor – This is the official website of the Israeli government for remembering the fallen.
The Face, the Day, A Memorial – This artistic initiative from Beit Avi Chai transforms memories from the lives of fallen IDF soldiers into animated films.
Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs – This page has many resources for commemorating fallen soldiers and victims of terror.
The Lone Soldier Center – This website has many resources for supporting lone soldiers currently serving in the IDF and commemorations for fallen soldiers.
The National Library of Israel – These Yom Hazikaron resources include lesson plans, activities, and more.
The Israel Forever Foundation – These Yom Hazikaron resources include articles, activities, and more.
VIDEOS AND SONGS
Yom Hazikaron Siren – This clip shows Jerusalem stopping for a moment of silence to pay their respects to fallen soldiers during the Yom Hazikaron silence.
Mount Herzl Memorial – A clip from the annual national commemoration for Yom Hazikaron at Mount Herzl in Jerusalem.
Yom Hazikaron Ceremony – An excerpt from the Masa Yom Hazikaron ceremony from 2018.
A Tribute to Michael Levin – This video from the IDF pays tribute to fallen lone soldier Michael Levin.
Playlist for Yom Hazikaron – A video playlist of Hebrew songs relating to Yom Hazikaron.
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