I left Israel when I was six years old. There are only a fistful of fuzzy memories that remain from my childhood in Kfar Saba.
But recently, a vivid memory floated to the surface of my mind:
The sorrowful wailing of a siren sounding throughout Israel at the very same moment.
For two minutes on Yom Hashaoh, everything in Israel stops: cars on the highway come to a halt, cell phones are shut off, conversations are quieted, children in schoolyards stop playing.
The entire country stands in unified grief, in memory of all those that perished in the Holocaust.
Even as a young child, I understood the significance of that siren. I felt the weight of Jewish suffering on my shoulders and I hadn’t even learned about World War II yet. My heart swelled with sorrow, but I didn’t realize who or what I was mourning.
The memory of that moment still causes my eyes to water and my throat to go dry.
The notes to a Jewlicious video of the siren described it eloquently: “It’s a touching and poignant moment in a country known more for its boisterousness than for its introspection.”
Here is that video: