Religion Magazine

a Yom Hazikaron Invitation to the Haredi Community

By Gldmeier @gldmeier
community activist Miri Shalem posted on her Facebook page an invitation to the Haredi community to participate in the local Yom Hazikaron memorial events.
She writes:
Yesterday I realized that there are many Haredi friends and neighbors that might even want to be partners in the Yom Hazikaron memorial ceremonies, but they feel like outsiders and do not know how to participate.
Miri goes on to extend an invitation to the Haredi community. She writes:
Dear neighbor/friend,
On Tuesday evening Yom Hazikaron will descend on us.
This is a difficult day for Israeli society in general and for each person individually.
For us, the residents of RBS, this day is much more difficult as we feel isolated in our feelings of pain. We sense a par between the buildup of emotions of the day and between the feeling that all around us things are continuing as normal.
We have decided this year to invite you to be a partner in our remembering, because we realized that we never really invited you.
In the neighborhood there will be two ceremonies on Tuesday, May 10 at 19:50 (7:50pm).
One will be at the Matnas and will include a ceremony followed by an evening of memorial songs with a presentation.
The second will be in the plaza of Nahal Habesor 5 and will be directed toward the Haredi community.
Please be our partners in remembrance. Come, and spread the word.
It is a nice sentiment and a nice invitation. I like the initiative.
Will it change anything? Does the Haredi community not participate because they were never invited? They do feel like outsiders, as do many new immigrants. With, often, little family in Israel and fewer friends who grew up here, many of us do not really know people who died in battle, we don't really know how to commemorate them, especially because we often do not know anyone personally. The Haredi community is very much the same - having stayed apart from the general society, for the most part, and for largely not having served in the army, the Haredi community also feels like outsiders and usually do not know anyone directly who died in battle.
But is that the reason they do not participate? It might be a part of it, but it is also because of it being a Zionist day, and while most Haredim are not anti-State, they are also not active Zionists. Mostly they remain passive Zionists at best, and some might be passive anti-Zionists. Either way, they do not celebrate the Zionist days, for the most part, and hardly even make not eof them.
Will an invitation change that?
Some people might take up such an invitation. Probably some of the more anglo-oriented Haredim of the community, who might already be more open to private feelings of Zionism, maybe some native Israelis. I think most will still stay away, because it is not the lack of a formal invitation that was preventing them from participating.
I do think that with time, as more and more Haredi kids are joining the army, naturally more Haredim will be seen participating in the memorial ceremonies. They will become more integrated into society, and will naturally have less reason to stay away, and more and more people within the Haredi community will personally know people who will have died in battle (God forbid), whether it might be fallen Haredi soldiers or soldiers from other units with whom they will have gone to battle side by side with.
While it might not change much this year as a last-minute invitation, it might begin to change things little by little, year by year, with repeated invitations, along with the natural changes happening in Haredi society.
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