Pause for the Yom HaShoah siren

Above is video that I took this morning during the two minute siren marking Holocaust Remembrance Day. There is something incredibly pure about the simple ceremony of sounding a siren on Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day). No police cars block streets, yet everyone stops-- even drivers in the middle of the street get out and stand next to their cars. It's a little hard to see that in my video, but a driver is standing next to the car in the middle of the shot.

Today we mark the death of six million Jews in the Holocaust with the siren that warns us of incoming missiles today. (The warning siren sounds different-- apparently, it goes up and down rather than staying on a high note.) Today we have defenses, today we have a nation, today we have a way to fight back.

Today is a normal work day, and for most Israelis not quite as heavy a day as Memorial Day, but Israel feels subdued. All TV channels (aside from those not at all rooted in Israel, such as VH1) either broadcast Holocaust movies, Holocaust documentaries, or a still screen recognizing Yom HaShoah. This is what you see when you go to the pay-per-view "Playboy" channel (which, for the record, we have never once paid for or actually viewed!):

The words say-- in Hebrew and English-- that broadcasts will renew at 10 PM. It's bizarre to see images of Holocaust alongside the Playboy bunny, but then maybe there is something appropriate about that, too. The History channel and the Playboy channel pause to remember the victims of the Shoah today.

If you were in Israel, where were you when the siren went off?


  1. Usually I make sure I'm someplace where I can properly commemorate, but one year I found myself in the middle of the highway on Yom HaZikaron when the siren went off - one of the most incredible experiences I've ever had.


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