On the eve of Israel’s Memorial Day, “Yom Hazikaron,” over 1,000 members of the Los Angeles community gathered together at The Steve Tisch Cinema Center at The Saban Theatre in order to commemorate, mourn, and remember the 23,447 men and women who have died in uniform or as victims of terror attacks. In 2015 alone, 68 Israeli soldiers and police died in the line of duty and 32 civilians were killed in terror attacks. 

“These are trying times for Israel and the soldiers of the IDF,” said TOTA Rabbi David Baron. “Amid the latest spate of terror attacks, Israel’s soldiers and civilians need to know that we stand with them– now more than ever. Tonight is about honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice guarding the State of Israel and combatting the global scourge of terrorism that threatens all freedom-loving people.

”The second annual Yom Hazikaron Community-Wide Night of Remembrance was hosted by Friends of the Israel Defense Forces (FIDF), Temple of the Arts (TOTA) and the Simon Wiesenthal Center. 

Following last year’s successful inaugural commemoration, more than 50 local schools, synagogues, and organizations partnered for this Yom Hazikaron community event. Generously sponsored by the Board of Directors of Friends of the Israel Defense Forces Western Region, the second annual event was an expression of unwavering support and solidarity with Israel. 

The commemoration featured a special screening of Moriah Films’ documentary, “Our Boys,” which explores the events surrounding the kidnapping and murder of Eyal Yifrach (z”l), Naftali Frenkel (z”l), and Gilad Shaer (z”l) by Hammas terrorists in the summer of 2014. The film also examines the subsequent Hamas rocket attacks on Israel, which led to Operation Protective Edge in Gaza, and how these events have led to the greatest resurgence of anti-Semitism in Europe since the fall of Nazi Germany.

Distinguished guests included former and active-duty American and Israeli soldiers and Leehy Shaer, who lit a yahrzeit (memorial) candle for her nephew, Gilad Shaer (z”l).

“Sixty-eight years ago, the ancient dream of the Jewish people became a vibrant reality with the establishment of the State of Israel,” said FIDF National Board Member and Western Region Vice President Ari Ryan, who presided as the event’s master of ceremonies. “All of us have profound respect and admiration for the soldiers of the IDF, and tonight, we honor and remember those who have fallen in service to Israel.”