Refugees Remember the Fallen
A special Yom Hazikaron ceremony was held in the Jewish community of the city of Lodz, Poland, in memory of Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror.
A particularly moving ceremony took place in the Jewish community in the city of Lodz, Poland, where, in addition to members of the community, refugees from Ukraine could also be found among the participants.
Rabbi David Shikhovsky, an emissary from Ohr Torah Stone’s Straus-Amiel Emissary Program who serves as the community’s rabbi, notes that the Jewish community in Lodz currently numbers about 200 families, but since the Russian invasion of Ukraine they have also hosted about 50 refugees who managed to escape the fighting and now live in the community center.
Yesterday, members of the community marked the annual ceremony to mark Remembrance Day, which, as mentioned, took on another exciting meaning when the refugees joined in and asked to pay their respects to the fallen.
Part of the memorial event interspersed the stories of the fallen alongside songs that were written in their memory. “Imagine a room full of women, men and even a few children, many of whom came straight from the war in Ukraine, sitting and reading and hearing about Sean Carmeli, Daniel Pomerantz, and singing the songs written in their memory: “Good night Sean” and “20,000 people” (translated into Russian!), and there are tears, and ragin emotion, and there is silence,” said Ester Vaserman, one of the program organizers.
Vaserman is currently in Lodz as part of the Straus-Amiel Institute’s “Amiel Cadets” program, which sends groups of young men and women who have recently completed their military or national service to Jewish communities in the Diaspora for a week of volunteer activity.
“We came to Lodz for the week including Yom HaZikaron (Remembrance Day) and Yom HaAtzmaut (Independence Day) to share a little bit of the experience Israel through our eyes,” notes Vaserman.
“We gave a class on the wars of Israel and I shared a bit of my own experiences serving in the IDF, as well as a description of the Israeli military today,” she continues. “The main activity was dedicated to marking Yom HaZikaron, and at the end people just continued sitting for several mintues in utter silence, staring at the candles, feeling part of it. to sit for a few minutes in complete silence, staring at the candles, feeling part of us in all our diversity and streams, this was an incredible opportunity for feeling and connection to Israel – a nation that knows great pain, but also knows how to continue to thrive. Am Yisrael Chai.”