There was a sea of various shades of green in the halls of the Stella K. Abraham High School for Girls on Wednesday, April 14, in recognition of and solidarity with Yom HaZikaron. The observance of Israel’s Memorial Day at SKA was an inspiring way to acknowledge the contributions of the thousands of Israeli soldiers who gave their lives defending the State of Israel and mourn with the families of those who lost loved ones to war and terror.

The learning all day in the school was l’ilui nishmas Israel’s fallen, and each girl took an individual name to have in mind. In a moving assembly, SKA students and faculty were privileged to hear from former American IDF soldier, Mr. Daniel Gottesman, whose grandfather was in the Haganah, and Ms. Sarri Singer, Founder and Director of Strength to Strength, an organization that brings together victims of terror from around the world and provides psychological and emotional support, and who is herself a victim of terror. The Broken Glass Project, developed by Art Academy Director Mrs. Suzy Libin, had girls putting names of the individual soldiers they were given to create a special memorial. Many interested students even stayed after regular school hours to watch a powerful Yom HaZikaron movie, Beneath the Helmet.

Then, in a “mei’afeilah l’orah” moment, the pain of remembrance turned into joyous celebration as the girls decorated the school building and hallways for the next day’s salute to Yom HaAtzmaut.

Blue and white were the colors of choice on Thursday, April 15, in honor of Israel’s Independence Day. To keep the focus on Medinat Yisrael, “Israel Across the Curriculum” was the theme of every classroom – even Math and Science – throughout the day, giving the faculty the opportunity to highlight many different aspects of Israel through the prism of varied disciplines. Topics ranged from “The Therapeutic Elements of the Dead Sea” to “Symmetry of the Israeli Flag” along with “Kedushat Eretz Yisrael” and “What Did Israel Look Like Before 1948?”

The Yom HaAtzmaut Kangoo Shoe Chagigah differed from the usual SKA chagigah due to social distancing, but was very spirited nonetheless as girls danced in their spots to lively music. Student-produced video presentations shown after the morning communal davening focused on Eretz Yisrael, and the blue and white desserts were an especially significant treat! The ruach all day in the school was incredible; the students of SKA really expressed their love and yearning for the State of Israel.

We thank Mrs. Penina Bernstein, faculty advisor to SKA’s Israel Action Committee, for organizing these outstanding programs. As Mrs. Bernstein noted in her introduction, “We wouldn’t have Yom HaAtzmaut without Yom HaZikaron. Israel owes its existence to Hashem and the soldiers who sacrificed their lives for it.”