The siren sounds at 11:00 am 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 Riki Mansura, who works in the accounting department, and who has volunteered to organize events at the Hadassah Medical Organization for 18 years. "They say time heals pain, but we know that the love and longing for our loved ones is always with us," Mansura notes
Prof. 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 by Private Gil Levi of the Israel Defense Forces; Oshri Bokovza of the Archive Department plays the drum roll.
The torch is lit by Michal Harel, a laboratory technician in the Immunology and Allergy Research Department, whose sister, Rachel Kol, was murdered in a terror attack in Gush Katif. She was also a Hadassah lab technician.
Barbara Goldstein reads Psalm 83:
“O God, do not remain silent; do not turn a deaf ear; do not stand aloof, O God.”
The memorial Kaddish is recited by Rami Pollack, a clerk in the Archive Department, 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, HMO 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 Ornal Van Aldrink, a teacher at the Hadassah School.
Two pediatric patients place the wreath near the memorial flame.
Inbar Azrak, 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 team and the amazing women of Hadassah behind me. That gave me and my family strength." (Hadassah will see Inbar in the early fall when --b'ezrat hashem (the help of God)--she gives birth in the Charlotte R. Bloomberg Mother and Child Center.
The program ends—as one might expect—with the singing of Hatikiva, Israel’s National Anthem. --Barbara Sofer, Israel Director of Public Relations, Hadassah Office in Israel.
For photos from the event, click on our Google album.