קישור שלום ~ Kishur Sholom

Staying Connected with the Temple Sholom Community

13 May 2024 ~ 5 Iyyar 5784 ~ 20th Day of Omer

Yom HaZikkaron ~ Erev Yom HaAtzmaut

Dear friends, chaveirim y'karim,

It’s nearly impossible to observe Yom HaZikkaron (Israel’s Memorial Day) outside of Israel. To be in Israel for the day enables genuine observance, which includes a nationwide air-raid siren at 8pm to mark the start of the day and at 11am, which typically is when memorial services are held. When the air-raid siren sounds, everything comes to a halt. For two minutes, the nation stands at attention. Because everyone knows it is coming, cars and buses stop. Classes cease instruction. Workers stand from their desks in silence.

This year’s Memorial Day is shrouded with the pain of October 7th and the ensuing war that continues to this day. Here is but one service from last night.


Rabbi Chaya Rowen Baker, Dean of the Schechter Rabbinical Seminary in Jerusalem, wrote the following piece in anticipation of today. 

9 May 2024 / Rosh Hodesh Iyar 5784 

“Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.” (Psalm 126:5) 

This statement does not fully convey the depth of pain which is felt at times. Sometimes, sorrow simply colors everything, to the point that there is no joy in the outcome. In the Babylonian Talmud (Ta’anit), the Rabbis explained the verse as referring to the miraculous ripening of the crop, a moment before the seasons change, when it appears that all has been lost. It is the potential for loss that reminds us to rejoice. 

On the day before Israel’s Declaration of Independence was issued on 4 Iyar 5708 (13 May 1948), the Etziyon Bloc fell after fierce battles. The loss was tremendous - numerically, symbolically, and strategically. The State of Israel came into being after half a year of warfare, which only intensified after the declaration and the end of the British Mandate (14 May 1948). The joy of enacting a 2,000 year old dream was squeezed between misery and loss, the harvest workers’ song in response to a miracle. 

Yom HaAtzmaut in 2024, as in 1948, is a time of rejoicing and weeping. Just as then, today as well, we have much work ahead of us. And like those weeping celebrants, we too shall overcome this.* 


From the mournful tears of Yom HaZikkaron, Israel will move toward celebration of its independence for Yom HaAtzmaut - albeit markedly different this year. There are far too many tears to reap in joy this year. While Yossi Klein Halevi was with us this past weekend, he told a story of a friend who fought in the Yom Kippur War and lost many friends who died in battle. When May 1974 arrived and it was time for Yom HaAtzmaut, Yossi’s friend specifically left Israel and traveled to New York where he had business to conduct. This man was a secular kibbutznik and for him Yom HaAtzmaut had the same importance - and maybe even more - than Yom Kippur for the religious Jew. Alas, in 1974, he couldn’t bear to celebrate for the pain of the war and its related losses were too great. Given his generation of stoicism, the man sat in his hotel room, alone, and said later of his Yom HaAtzmaut, “If I knew how to cry, I would have cried all day.” 

We transition from Yom HaZikaron (Israel’s Memorial Day) to Yom HaAtzmaut on Monday night. As part of transition from the sadness of Memorial Day you might consider this uplifting video from the Jewish National Fund which highlights some of their excellent work with an overlay of Eyal Golan’s Am Yisrael Chai. Lyrics found here. And if you are looking for a glimpse into an older film which is dated and yet … a nice trip down memory lane and escape from the difficulties of today’s news, Paul Newman in Exodus is always worth watching. 

We’ve had a lot to digest in terms of news from Israel and last Thursday evening’s presentation from Yossi Klein Halevi was a wonderful gathering of the area synagogues and the Jewish Federation partnering to show unity and desire to stand together with each other and the people of Israel in search of understanding and strength. 

This week as I prepare to mark Israel’s 76th birthday, I am mindful that joy is simply unattainable for so many obvious reasons.  I reminding myself of the Psalmist prayers - “You turned my mourning into dancing, you undid my sackcloth and girded me with joy (Psalm 30:12).”  

May our mourning be turned into dancing, may our sadness be turned into joy and may our brothers and sisters enjoy a lasting peace in our people’s homeland.

Rabbi Mark Cohn


*When we traversed the desert for a year out of Egypt and arrived on the cusp of entry to the Promised Land, twelve scouts went to investigate. Upon returning, ten brought "an evil report." Two (Joshua and Caleb) reassured the people of the goodness of the land, as we read: “Caleb hushed the people before Moses and said, 'Let us by all means go up, and we shall gain possession of it, for we shall surely overcome it.'” (Numbers 13:30) Rabbi Baker's use of the phrase "we shall surely over come it" is a source of inspiration and support for us to this day.


Since last year's Memorial day, 760 soldiers and 834 civilians have been killed. It has been a remarkably dark year - largely due to the events of October 7th and the subsequent war. This year's commemorations will touch even more than usual every citizen in Israel.

The War against the Jewish Story, (5 May 2024) by Yossi Klein Halevi in The Times of Israel. "The ease with which anti-Zionists have managed to portray the Jewish state as genocidal marks a historic failure of Holocaust education."

"Jewish Warriors of Past and Present" (8 May 2024) by Misha Galperin The Times of Israel.

"Screams before Silence - a discussion with Sheryl Sandberg" and Dan Senor on Call Me Back.


A Yom HaAtzmaut Playlist from Rabbi Cohn on Spotify.

Psalm 121: Text // Melody

Acheinu Kol Beit Yisrael: Text & Melody


Count with intention with Homer Simpson (!) at homercalendar.net. Download the MyOmer app and/or check out the website of Rabbi Simon Jacobson for meaningful reflections each day of the Omer.


From Unpacked, "Yom HaZikaron: Heroes of October 7." If you want to dive deeper into the conversation with friends and family, see this resource which will give you questions for reflection and further resources to consider what this central day in the Jewish-Israeli calendar means for the Jewish people.


May 14, 21 @ NOON. Lunch and Learn with Rabbi Mark Cohn. May 14: Understanding the Omer (and a little more about the Moss Haggadah because we just barely got started!). May 21: Pirkei Avot as a source of wisdom for the Omer Period and all year long!



Sunday, May 19 at 3 PM, Ridgefield, CT. Screening of the documentary based on the book The Inextinguishable Symphony: A True Story of Music and Love in Nazi Germany by Martin Goldsmith. Discussion with author Martin Goldsmith. Special performance by acclaimed chamber musicians Giora Schmidt, violin; Julian Schwarz, cello; Marika Bournaki, piano. Ridgefield Playhouse, Ridgefield, CT.

MILO'S MOJO: Classic Rock Favorites. Saturday, June 1 at 7 PM, JCC in Sherman. Learn more about the programs at the JCC here.



MAY 17, 31

JUNE 7, 21

JULY 5, 19





Led by CJ Kelly


MAY 18, 25

JUNE 1, 8*, 15, 22, 29

*Led by Rabbi Cohn

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