On the eve of Yom HaZikaron, a day of remembrance for Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror, Masa Israel Journey is virtually hosting its annual Yom HaZikaron Ceremony. The event will commence on April 27 at 8:00 PM Israel Standard Time (1:00 PM ET/ 10:00 AM PST). In accordance with safety regulations set by the State of Israel and Israel’s Ministry of Health to combat the spread of the Coronavirus, the program will be broadcast live here on Arutz Sheva.
Masa’s ceremony is the largest English-language Yom HaZikaron event in Israel and is broadcast globally. Hosted annually in Latrun, Israel, the program was partially pre-recorded this year at the memorial site. Hundreds of thousands of Jews are expected to tune-in, including Masa Israel fellows and alumni and Jewish communities and leaders from the United States, Canada, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Turkey, Morocco, South Africa, Brazil, Argentina, the former Soviet Union and more.
The annual ceremony is dedicated to the Diaspora community and their contributions to Israel’s story. Each year, 12,000 Masa fellows arrive in Israel for personal and professional journeys, and they report that the Yom HaZikaron Ceremony is one of the most significant moments of their experience.
President Reuven "Ruvi" Rivlin, the President of Israel; Isaac “Bougie” Herzog, the Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel; David Koschitzky, the Chairman of the Keren Hayesod-UIA Board of Trustees; Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s Minister of Diaspora Affairs; and Mark Wilf, the Chair of the Jewish Federations of North America Board of Trustees will deliver keynote addresses.
Bereaved families from Diaspora communities are an integral part of the ceremony. This year’s program will tell the stories of First Sergeant Yohan Zarbiv z”l, First Sergeant Jordan Bensemhoun z”l, Sergeant Major David Shmidov z”l and Staff Sergeant Alexander Bonimovich z”l. A video message from bereaved mothers including Varda Pomerantz, the mother of Staff Sergeant Daniel Pomerantz z”l and Alicia Hoffman, the mother of Sergeant Alejandro Alexander z”l will also be screened. Stuart Steinberg, father of Staff Sergeant Max Steinberg z”l will recite kaddish, the Jewish mourner’s prayer.
Against the backdrop of international flags representing the global Masa community, Fellows Marcela Friedman from Brazil and Ethan Fisher from Texas, U.S., will lay memorial flowers and light candles to honor Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror.
Exactly one year since the antisemitic shooting at the Chabad of Poway, the ceremony will also pay tribute to Lori Gilbert Kaye z”l who was tragically killed while protecting her rabbi.
"Masa’s Yom Hazikaron Ceremony has become a monumental event over the years. The event provides a unique opportunity for Jews from around the world and Israelis to commemorate Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror together,” said Masa Israel Acting CEO Ofer Gutman. “This ceremony connects the global Jewish community through the story and people of Israel. We are coming together through darkness and lifting one another up. At a time of global crisis, our unity is vital. This is the strength of our Jewish history, and the strength of our Jewish future.”