As a siren sounded, several hundred men, women and children gathered in the sanctuary at the Ahavath Achim Synagogue, standing silent in memory of Israel’s war dead and civilian victims of terror attacks.
The vast majority of those gathered May 7 to observe Yom Hazikaron (Day of Remembrance) were from Atlanta’s Israeli community.
On the eve of the commemoration, Israel’s Defense Ministry listed 23,741 casualties of war and the National Insurance Institute of Israel reported 3,146 civilian victims of terrorism, counted since 1860, when Jewish settlers began establishing neighborhoods outside the Old City of Jerusalem, according to The Times of Israel.
“We bow our heads in eternal gratitude” for the sacrifice of those lives lost, Ambassador Judith Varnai Shorer, Israel’s Consul General for the Southeastern U.S., said in English at the ceremony sponsored by the Israeli consulate. A video by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, also in English, was shown. And family members of fallen soldiers recited prayers.
Students from The Davis Academy, Atlanta Jewish Academy, The Epstein School and The Weber School participated in the event, along with rabbis and representatives of Jewish communal organizations.
Also taking part were members of the Israel Scouts, including in the procession of Israeli flags throughout the sanctuary that preceded the singing of the Israeli national anthem “Hatikah” at the close of the event.