Memorial Day: Remembering the Family-less Fallen Soldiers
This morning, students of the nationwide AMIT school network will conduct memorial ceremonies for fallen soldiers whose graves no one else visits.
The students will also take note of graves whose visitors number less than ten men, and offer to “fill out” the required numbers so that the customary Kaddish prayer can be said.
Official memorial ceremonies will be held today at 11 AMat all 44 IDF Military Cemeteries around the country, and a government or Knesset representative is to speak at each. Beforehand, however, family members generally arrive and conduct their own private ceremonies for their loved ones killed in war or by terrorists.
At some graves, such as those of fallen soldiers from the War of Independence, barely anyone ever arrives, except perhaps for an elderly parent or sibling.
Rabbi Avinoam Almagor, principal of the Amit “Havruta” Yeshiva in Kfar Batya, Raanana, explained how he first came up with the idea: “Last year, our students decided to visit cemeteries and say Kaddish for fallen soldiers, and we saw several gravesites at which stood only one person – often an elderly woman – who said that for years there has been no Kaddish there.” Rabbi Almagor and students took upon themselves to help out, and Amit Director Dr. Amnon Eldar decided that it was a worthwhile project for all AMIT schools.
“This is hessed shel emet, true kindness [in that it can never be repaid, our Sages teach],” said Dr. Eldar. “This precisely represents what we want to teach. It is a privilege and mitzvah to give to those who gave their all on behalf of the State of Israel.”
AMIT students will visit the IDF cemeteries in Kiryat Sha’ul, Segulah-Petach Tikvah, Raanana, Kfar Saba, Rehovot, Be’er Sheva, Karmiel, Tzfat, Beit Shemesh, Lod, and Kfar Warburg.