On Sunday, April 30, over 400 Riverdalians and representatives from 16 Riverdale Jewish institutions all came together at the Riverdale Y to commemorate Yom Hazikaron, the Memorial Day for Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror. Enacted into law by the State of Israel in 1963, the day is marked by solemnity, prayer and memorial services.
The hundreds of attendees were greeted with a program proclaiming, “We exist as long as someone remembers us,” and a lapel label with the word “Yizkor.” The area was transformed into a veritable memorial with walls and panels draped in black and lined with photographs and bios of the fallen. A table was set with memorial candles, which would be lit during the ceremony by representatives from each community institution.
Ambassador Dani Dayan, Consul General of Israel in New York, delivered a solemn yet warm greeting on behalf of Israel, as he described the lives and sacrifices of the fallen. He emphasized that these soldiers not only gave their lives for Israel, but for Jews everywhere.
Leaders from throughout the community led prayers and shared reflections. Kinneret Day School students sang and danced with flags waiving in tribute to the fallen soldiers. SAR Academy students presented biographical readings and sang to keyboard and string accompaniment, with visuals of fallen soldiers and their friends and families displayed on a large screen behind them.
The evening was supported by UJA Federation of New York and the 16 Riverdale Jewish community partners and coordinated by Shanie Korabelnik of The Y’s Israel House (IHouse) program. Congressman Elliot Engel and Dr. Ruth Westheimer, both frequent visitors to and staunch supporters of the Riverdale Y and of Israel, were in the audience.
The Riverdale Jewish Community Partners included Congregation Beth Aharon, Congregation Shaarei Shalom, Congregation Tehillah, Conservative Synagogue Adath Israel of Riverdale, Hebrew Institute of Riverdale—The Bayit, The Kehilah, Kinneret Day School, Minyan Shachar, Riverdale Jewish Center, The Riverdale Minyan, Riverdale Temple, The Riverdale YM-YWHA, SAR, Yeshivat Chovevei Torah, Yeshivat Maharat and Young Israel Ohab Zedek.