Today we observe Yom HaZikaron. I know today is the day we remember the fallen chayalim and victims of terror hy'd. I know that Yom HaZikaron is usually the 4th of Iyar, followed by Yom Ha'Atzmaut on the 5th, but because of Shabbos Yom Ha'Atzmaut was moved to Thursday and so Yom HaZikaron is observed today.
What's the big deal? Ask most of my high school classmates what today is, and what it means. These days are usually not observed in the BY/Yeshiva school system. Sometimes the days are actually protested against. On Yom Hashoa there is a speech at my old high school - why the day is specifically NOT to be observed. (Tisha B'Av is used as a day of remembrance for all Jews instead)
In my elementary school however, we DID observe all of these days, with memorial services, sirens, and celebrations. We lit candles on Yom HaShoa, read the poem "I Never Saw Another Butterfly", and listened to Survivors tell their stories. We said tefilot for chayalim and Israel on Yom HaZikaron, and we wore Blue & White on Yom Ha'Atzmaut. In each classroom we had an Israeli flag in addition to the American Flag. Every morning we sang HaTikva in addition to the Pledge of Allegiance.
TheYeshivaWorld posted a letter to the editor today. "Why Charedim Don't Stand During the Siren"
"We live each day with Emunah and Bitachon. Each one of us knows quite well the concepts of G’zar Din and S’char v’Onesh. It is certainly difficult to accept Hashem’s decrees.No one claims to have the answers of the specifics and the severity. But one thing we do know - the Ribbono Shel Olam did it for a reason only He knows - and we accept His judgement.The comments on this letter are split. Some comments disagree with the author and discuss how these days are the same as observing a Yarzheit, etc. and some comments agree with the author's view.
Sadly, the Chilonim don’t walk around with such an attitude, and therefore have questions.They need to take a minute each year to think.We as Chareidim think about Hashem’s ways every day of the year.The mechanic’s friends won’t celebrate with him - it lowers their standards. The Chareidim don’t stand during the siren - it minimizes their Emunah and Bitachon. "
Growing up in two schools with very different outlooks on this issue has left me a little confused. On one hand i do feel its important to observe/celebrate these occasions, but with the "yeshivish" world so against anything "Tzioni" (including Bamba) I feel that by caring, i'm doing something "wrong". The Gush Katif/Shomron situation was similar. Nothing was mentioned in the BY high schools or seminaries, while the "Tzioni" schools shared the news and kept their students updated. We were in Israel and didn't even have a clue about what was going on!
I remember finding a poster when I was in seminary that said "Yehudim Lo Migarshim Yehudim". I took it to my Aim HaBayit and asked her what "migrashim" meant. She looked at the poster and then she looked at me and she said "we stay out of this, throw that away". (she attempted to take it from me, but i left quickly. It hung on the wall of my room for the rest of the year).
Unfortunately for her, we had Israeli madrichot who answered my question with pleasure, and an explanation - not to mention relatives living in Gush Katif. (I'm proud to say that the following year, my brother and his friends made numerous trips to the Shomron area, specifically to resettle Chomeish, and camped out until the police had to drag them away. Because they were American they were put onto buses and let off in the middle of nowhere, far from the Shomron.)
On Yom Ha'Atzmaut the seminary girls were "banned" from attending any celebrations. How many of these same families (staff included) would attend fireworks displays on July 4th, the American Independence Day??
What is Anti-Frum about sticking up for your brothers and sisters? What is Anti-Frum about taking a moment out of your day to pause and give Hakaras Hatov to your siblings that fight in the army for you, for your land?? Do you realize what a privilege it is to daven at the Kosel as often as you'd like? Without "the State of Israel" you'd have a lot more problems getting a chance to pray there, or at any of the holy sites (not to mention those BY seminaries)!!
I now work at a school similar to my own elementary school. This afternoon we had a siren and a mome nt of silence, and the principal gave an explanation to the students. Even in the office, I stopped what I was doing. Oy vey! A kollel wife observing a moment of silence for something zionistic!? I changed my gchat status (you know you love them) to "moment of silence @ work" as this occurred, and one of my friends who grew up in the BY system messaged me "really? thats weird. why?"
Jews bashing other Jews is what it comes down to. How can we expect Moshiach to come when we're behaving like siblings who get their dessert taken away from them for fighting??
Tomorrow, the students and staff at the school I work in will be wearing Blue & White in honor of Yom Ha'Atzmaut. I will be joining them.