Israel’s Fallen Remembered at the Saban Theatre
More than 50 schools, synagogues, and other organizations partnered with sponsors FIDF, Temple of the Arts, and the Consul General of Israel for the Yom Hazikaron Community-Wide Night of Remembrance. The event was held on April 17th at the Saban Theatre.
James Blatt, President of Temple of the Arts, told the packed audience, “Today we stand as one, bowing our heads and remembering the sons and daughters of the Israeli people who acted with courage and boundless dedication, and in memory of the victims of terror who lost their lives in senseless murderous acts.” The audience rose to listen to the siren that sounds in Israel signaling the moment of silence on the national holiday of Yom Hazikaron.
Ari Ryan, Vice President of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Western Region and board member of the Temple of the Arts, told the audience that their presence sends message that the L.A. community stands with Israel. He praised the rabbi of the Temple of the Arts, David Baron, and the co-sponsors of the event, without whom the gathering at the Saban would not be possible. Then Ryan read two heartbreaking numbers: 23,646 IDF soldiers have fallen in eight wars fought against Israel’s existence, and 3134 civilians have been killed by Arab terrorists.
Among those killed, Ryan said, were mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, and friends. These include 23-year-old border police officer, Staff Sergeant Hadass Malka. Hadass was murdered in the Old City of Jerusalem on June 17, 2017. They also include Yosef, Chaya, and Elad Solomon, murdered by a 19-year-old Arab terrorist in July 2017 as the family gathered for Shabbat to welcome their new grandchild; and Captain Tom Farkash, 23 years old, who was killed during a mission across the Lebanese border during clashes with Hezbollah terrorists.
At that point, Iris Malkin took the stage to sing “A Million Kochavim,” which was sung at the funeral for Farkash.
Eighteen memorial candles were lit by 18 honored community leaders in the memory of all Israel’s fallen. Sergeant Yaniv Levy, a sniper instructor at the school of counter terrorism, told the crowd that by wearing the IDF uniform he vowed an oath that Israel is a country that he would give his life for. Israel is a country that his friends and his friends’ friends also vowed they would give their lives for. Yaniv mentioned that he heard the following quote at an event he attended in Atlanta: “26,000 is a price we pay when we have a country, and six million is the price we paid without a country.” Adding, that that he is very proud to wear his uniform, Yaniv then recited kaddish for all the fallen.
Eden Kontez and the Jewish Community Children’s Choir under the direction of Michelle Green Willner sang “Ma Avarech,” followed by a video in Hebrew with English subtitles about elite IDF unit Tzevet Amrani and their incredible mesiras nefesh. The film showed two of the unit’s soldiers, who were killed shortly before their graduation when they were sent on very dangerous missions. Following the film, Nati Baram, the cantor of Beverly Hills Synagogue sang “Kel Malei Rachamim.”
Tony Rubin, President of the Western Region of the FIDF, told the audience about his journey from Poland, including when they marched into Auschwitz with a Torah and his group’s joyful arrival in Israel on Yom HaZikaron. He was amazed at the complete standstill when the siren echoed throughout Israel.
Consul General Sam Grundwerg said that while families mourning our losses every day of the year, on Yom HaZikaron, the entire nation joins all the bereaved. He spoke of Eliyahu Drori, who came from Los Angeles and made aliyah with his family, and who just this past weekend lost his life defending our Jewish homeland.
Ron Weinrich brought the entire crowd to their feet with his incredible voice and soul-stirring rendition of “Bring Him Home,” sung in English and Hebrew. Weinrich sustained a spinal cord injury when he served as a tank commander in the 401st Armored Division. Following a long stretch of rehabilitation, Ron established himself in Israel as a famed artist and then came to the United States to enter the music scene here.
The program concluded with three cantors (Nati Baram, Cantor of Beverly Hills Synagogue; Marcus Feldman, Cantor of Sinai Temple; and Arik Wollheim, Cantor of Beth Jacob Congregation) singing “Lu Yehi” together. The musical director and pianist for the evening was Sharon Farber, with Marcy Vaj on violin and Shaul Kofler on cello.