An Israeli soldier places flowers on the graves of fallen Israeli soldiers at the Mount Herzl military cemetery hours before the start of Memorial Day, April 20, 2020.
An Israeli soldier places flowers on the graves of fallen Israeli soldiers at the Mount Herzl military cemetery hours before the start of Memorial Day, April 20, 2020. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90 via JTA)

This year, a range of programs and memorial services are being livestreamed, and geared toward English-speaking audiences.

(JTA) — Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day, begins Tuesday night and lasts until Wednesday night, when the country transitions into Israel’s Independence Day, Yom Haatzmaut.

In Israel, the day is marked with one- and two-minute sirens when the country halts and everyone stands in silence. At night, Israelis attend official memorial services. People traditionally visit the graves of loved ones who died in wars and terror attacks during the day — a custom that was interrupted last year, when the country was in the middle of its first pandemic lockdown.

This year, Israelis are largely able to resume their local traditions for these holidays. Still, a range of programs and memorial services are being streamed, geared toward English-speaking audiences whose ability to travel to Israel has been largely cut off for the last year.

Here are some of the options — from a service that brings together bereaved Israelis and Palestinians to a Jewish study program with participants around the world.

A traditional ceremony, livestreamed
Tuesday, 1 p.m. EDT. Stream here

Masa Israel, an umbrella for long-term programs in Israel, will be streaming a traditional memorial service for English speakers hosted at Latrun, a strategic junction in between Jerusalem and Tel Aviv that saw fighting in Israel’s 1948 War of Independence. The service will begin with the Tuesday night siren and commemorate Israeli victims of terror and war.

A joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial
Tuesday, 1:30 p.m. EDT. Stream here

Unlike most Yom Hazikaron events, this ceremony, organized by Combatants for Peace and the Parents Circle-Families Forum, groups that bring together Israelis and Palestinians, mourns those who have been killed on both sides of the conflict. The groups have held an Israeli-Palestinian Joint Memorial Day Ceremony annually for 16 years; this year’s will be hosted by actor Richard Gere and will feature parents and relatives of Israelis and Palestinians who have been killed.

An international Torah study effort
Tuesday evening to Wednesday. Details here

This project, started 10 years ago by an Israeli army officer and supported by the World Organization of Orthodox Communities and Synagogues, aims to get people to study the Mishnah, a foundational rabbinic legal text, around the world in memory of Israel’s fallen. The multilingual project’s goal is to have someone, somewhere in the world, studying at every moment of Yom Hazikaron.

A concert featuring songs of mourning
Tuesday, 8 p.m. EDT. Details here

The Marlene Meyerson JCC Manhattan is hosting this concert, which features songs written in honor of and by Israeli soldiers who have been killed.

A lecture about one village’s war history
Tuesday, 2 p.m. EDT. Stream here

Hosted by Volunteers for Israel, a nonprofit that brings Jews and non-Jews to work in Israel, often on army bases, this program explores the fate of one Jewish village in the Galilee, Mishmar Hayarden, during Israel’s War of Independence. The program describes the battle as equivalent to Israel’s Alamo.

Bonus: While Israelis are most likely to celebrate Yom Haatzmaut, which begins Wednesday night, with a picnic, a host of live events are also scheduled for Israel’s Independence Day. Check out the listings — which include a craft workshop, cooking class and day of learning — on The Hub, the events directory maintained by My Jewish Learning.

By Ben Sales