President Reuven Rivlin, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog and the father of fallen soldier Max Steinberg were to Monday evening join Jews from all over the world for a Masa ceremony for Memorial Day, this year being held digitally due to coronavirus restrictions.
The event, which is the largest English-language ceremony broadcast from Israel, takes place annually in Latrun, but this year was partially prerecorded at the site.
Hundreds of thousands of Jews from around the world were expected to join the ceremony to mark the start of Yom Hazikaron - Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror.
Attendees were expected from Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, the Commonwealth of Independent States, Morocco, New Zealand, South Africa, Turkey, and United States.
The ceremony is dedicated to the Diaspora community and their contributions to Israel’s story.
This year’s program tells the stories of fallen soldiers First Sgt. Yohan Zarbiv, First Sgt. Jordan Bensemhoun, Sgt. Maj. David Shmidov and Staff Sgt. Alexander Bonimovich.
The program also includes video messages from the mothers of fallen soldiers, including Varda Pomerantz, the mother of Staff Sgt. Daniel Pomerantz, and Alicia Hofman, the mother of Sgt. Alejandro Alexander Hofman.
Stuart Steinberg, the father of Staff Sgt. Max Steinberg, will recite Kaddish, the Jewish mourner’s prayer.
Masa fellows Marcela Friedman from Brazil and Ethan Fisher from Texas were to lay memorial wreaths and light candles in honor of the dead.
The Chairman of the Keren Hayesod-UIA Board of Trustees David Koschitzky, Minister of Diaspora Affairs Tzipi Hotovely, and Chair of the Jewish Federations of North America Board of Trustees Mark Wilf were to deliver keynote addresses.
The service will also pay tribute to Lori Gilbert Kaye, who was murdered while protecting her rabbi during a shooting attack at her synagogue in Poway, California exactly a year ago.
"The event provides a unique opportunity for Jews from around the world and Israelis to commemorate Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terror together,” says Masa Israel's acting CEO Ofer Gutman.
“This ceremony connects the global Jewish community through the story and people of Israel. We are coming together through darkness and lifting one another up. At a time of global crisis, our unity is vital. This is the strength of our Jewish history, and the strength of our Jewish future.”