April 20, 2010
Young Leadership Groups Gather for Israel Remembrance
Young professionals in Los Angeles, dressed in white, commemorated Yom HaZikaron at the Museum of Tolerance on April 18 with a ceremony marked by personal stories of fallen soldiers and victims of terror. The evening, which united various young leadership organizations under the direction of Dor Chadash, was attended by a capacity crowd of 300 young American Jews and Israelis, who sat through a somber hour-long ceremony devoid of applause and chatter. In one of the night’s most poignant moments, Israeli Leadership Council Executive Director Shoham Nicolet recounted, in a voice quavering with emotion, the night he and his Israel Defense Forces (IDF) unit carried out a mission in southern Lebanon in 1999. The screen on stage displayed a photograph of the unit hours before the mission. “I’m standing in the middle of the group,” Nicolet said. “The soldiers on either side of me did not return alive.” Nicolet then played an audio recording of the gun battle that took the lives of three IDF soldiers that night. In another touching moment, Oran Schachter addressed a fellow fallen soldier: “I’m sorry I was not there to take the bullet instead of you Ari, because I miss you,” Schachter said. Sniffling could be heard throughout the auditorium as a montage of photographs showed IDF soldiers and Israelis carrying coffins draped in the Israeli flag, weeping at gravesites, huddling together on the battlefield and carrying bleeding comrades on stretchers. The evening ended on a note of hope, with a reading of kidnapped solider Gilad Shalit’s children’s story, “When the Shark and the Fish First Met,” a story of natural enemies coming together to live side by side in peace, and the singing of Israel’s national anthem, “Hatikvah” (The Hope).