|Yom Hazicharon ceremony at Machal’s Memorial in Sha’ar Hagai|
This year’s Memorial Service was marked by the absence of Smoky Simon, Chairman of World Machal, due to ill health, for the first time in the history of the Machal Memorial and Yom Hazicharon services since 1993.
With the valuable help of Zippy Porath (USA).who served as M.C., the service ran smoothly. Batsheva Livni, widow of Avi Livni (Aliyah Bet USA) lowered the flag to the sound of Reveille played by bugler Larry Brandt. Elana Overs and Marion Warner, daughter and partner of the late Stanley Medicks (Kenya/UK) lit the memorial flame, and Joe Woolf (SA) together with Meir Haberman (Argentina) laid the wreath. Officer Yaron Molov and Officer Matan Grady laid a wreath on behalf of the IDF.
The Names of the 123 Fallen and the countries from which they originated were read out this year by Hymie Goldblatt and Hymie Josman (both from SA).
With emphasis placed this year on women, Ruth Stern (SA) related the story of Esther Cailingold from the UK who fell fighting in the Old City in the Siege of Jerusalem: Esther’s story was read in Hebrew by Smoky Simon’s granddaughter Shelly Tik.
Reuven Margolies (Canada) related the story of Debra Epstein from Uruguay who fell in the attack on Kibbutz Nitzan, and the Hebrew version of her story was read by Yaakov Kleiner (Argentina), with the assistance of Yaakov’s granddaughter who is currently serving in the IDF.
The religious part of the ceremony was conducted by Rabbi Judith Endelman-Green, and Phil Harris (UK), now in his late 90’s, gave a wonderful rendition of Adon Alom. A very close friend of Stanley Medicks, Stanley Brickman, who is a cantor in the UK, led the Hatikvah.
Smoky’s message to the participants was read in English by Zippy and in Hebrew by his granddaughter Shelly.
Elana Overs (Stanley’s daughter) then spoke about her late father Stanley Medicks, the man behind the conception of the Memorial, and read out the wording on the plaque erected in her father’s memory at the side of the Memorial.
In conclusion, Murray Greenfield (USA) spoke to the audience about the heroic services rendered by Aliyah Bet in pre-State Israel.