Jewish Agency head Isaac Herzog: 'Our tears rend the heavens; we are all in mourning'

Jewish Agency, World Zionist Congress, communities around the world unite Sunday at 8pm to mourn the 45 victims.

Hezki Baruch ,

Yaakov Hagoel speaking at the event
Yaakov Hagoel speaking at the event
Hezki Baruch

The Jewish Agency and the World Zionist Congress are holding an event on Sunday in memory of the victims of the Meron disaster that claimed the lives of 45 and injured many more last Friday in the early hours of the morning.

The event is being held in Jerusalem, on the plaza outside the National Institutions House, and includes the lighting of candles and the recitation of the Kaddish memorial prayer.

Among those speaking is Rabbi Noam Kenigsberg, the rabbi of Daniel Morris, a nineteen-year-old victim of the catastrophe from New Jersey who was studying in Sha’alvim yeshiva high school in Israel.

Many Jewish communities around the world are holding similar events including a minute’s silence in memory of the disaster victims, an initiative of the Jewish Agency and the WZC. At eight o’clock on Sunday evening, Israel time, Jews around the world will unite to mourn the victims who lost their lives in the State of Israel’s worst-ever peacetime disaster.

Speaking at the memorial event, Isaac Herzog, the head of the Jewish Agency, said, “On the eve of last Shabbat, a terrible tragedy befell us. The celebration of the yahrtzeit of Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai turned into a death-trap, one that claimed the lives of 45 men, teens, and young boys. The scope of the tragedy stopped us in our tracks and shook up our lives – and we are all plunged into mourning, with tears that rend the heavens.

“This evening, we will hold a moment’s silence in their memory.”

Also speaking at the event was Yaakov Hagoel, the head of the WZC, who said: “The tragedy that occurred in Meron is one that has impacted all of us, every one of us, no matter what type of yarmulke he wears, no matter how he dresses, no matter how long his tzitzit or the size of his hat. Every single year, all types of Jews ascend to this mountain – secular, traditional, national-religious, and haredim – Chassidim and Sephardim and Lithuanians – every part of the Jewish people is represented there. Today is a day of reckoning for all of us, a day on which we should all be engaged in genuine soul-searching. We all bear a collective responsibility for what has happened – all of us, the entire Jewish People.”

In her speech, the head of the JFNA (Jewish Federations of North America), Becky Caspi, noted that, “What we must now do is accept each other, hug one another, love each other, and respect one another. We are one people. Last Friday the Jewish People woke up to a terrible, horrific reality, and now, the State of Israel and the entire Jewish People are hurting, in immense distress at the loss of 45 victims of this tremendous disaster. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims, and we salute the rescue organizations who were at the scene, doing what they could to save lives. Whenever a single Jew is in pain, we are all in pain.”