May 11, 2016

The siren sounds at 11:00 am to commemorate Memorial Day, and all traffic stops. We stand with our heads bowed for two minutes to remember the 23,447 fallen–among them so many of the Hadassah family. Hundreds gather in Miriam’s Garden, near the Beating Heart by artist Yaakov Agam, for the emotional ceremony that marks Memorial Day.

The ceremony is organized by a staff member who has volunteered to organize these events at the Hadassah Medical Organization for 18 years. She explaines that “They say time heals pain, but we know that the love and longing for our loved ones is always with us.”

Memorial day, laying a wreathProf. Alon Pikarsky, head of Hadassah’s Center for Colorectal Surgery, recites the memorial prayer of “Yizkor” for the members of the Hadassah family.

The flag is lowered to half-mast and a drum roll sounds.

The torch is lit by a Hadassah  laboratory technician whose sister (also a Hadassah lab technician) was murdered in a terror attack.

Psalm 83 is recited: “O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear; do not stand aloof, O God.”

The memorial Kaddish is recited by a staff member whose two little sisters were murdered on Bus 18 when they went to change a film at a video library.

Hadassah Rabbi Moshe Klein reads the prayer, “El Malei Rachamim.”

“Nearly every family in Israel has been touched by the heavy price we pay for Independence,” notes Prof. Zeev Rotstein, Hadassah Medical Organization Director General. “Hadassah, too, has lost so many–from the ambushed convoy on April 13, 1948, through all the years of loss within the Hadassah family. Jerusalem is on the front of our current struggle.”

Musical interludes are provided by a teacher at the Hadassah School.

Two pediatric patients place the wreath near the memorial flame.

A teacher and mother of two, who was badly burned when Molotov cocktails were thrown at her car last year, represents those who are still recovering. “As I was carried to the ambulance to go to Hadassah, I felt connected to all of those who have fought for our land and who have suffered. When I got to Hadassah, I had the amazing Hadassah team behind me. That gave me and my family strength.”

The program ended with the singing of Hatikiva, Israel’s National Anthem.