A small community Yom HaZicaron.

A small community Yom HaZicaron tekes is unlike the others I’ve been to in Israel. There is something about it. Maybe it sounds strange, but it’s almost like the smallness makes it more intense. At the kotel or Rabin square, you know why you are there… Or you feel the obvious magnitude of the occasion.

Hundreds of community members gathered in the school yard, with a small stage set up. Everyone was chatting, moving chairs, petting dogs. The MC was attempting to get everyone’s attention over the loud talking. He started to announce that in a few moments the siren would sound, would everyone turn off their phones, and please take their –

Everything stops for the Yom HaZicaron siren. Everything. Chatting, babies, dogs, microphones, MCs. This siren was really loud, the loudest I’ve ever heard it; it was also the quietest I’ve ever heard it.

There is something about a small Israeli community on Yom HaZicaron. When it is families that are surrounding you, you can feel the pain in the cracks between the crowd. They say everyone knows someone who has perished for the country – and here are the young families, remembering while moving on. A woman singing a song dedicated to her father, who died in ’67. A boy reading a rhyme for his shevet’s madrich, who perished in Lebanon. A mother-to-be reciting a poem for her brother, who was lost this past year.

The abruptness of the stop was what jerked me into Yom HaZicaron this year. Chatting, laughing, talking, cooing – stop.

There is something about a small Israeli community on Yom HaZicaron.