Yom Hashoah is Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day. At Meir Panim branches, especially our Holocaust Survivor Day Program in Dimona, the day is a solemn affair with both sadness and gratitude. This year in particular, with 25 new refugee families who have resettled in Dimona from Ukraine, fleeing the war, Yom Hashoah felt as relevant as ever. These two groups, Holocaust Survivors and new refugees, came together for an encounter to share strength, their stories, and look toward a brighter future.
The following week brought Yom Hazikaron and Yom Haatzmaut, Israel’s Memorial, and Independence day, which take place back to back to remind us of the joy and price of freedom. A new tradition from our Or Akiva branch highlights Meir Panim’s work not only as a safety net but also in community enrichment. The day before Yom Hazikaron, our team of staff and volunteers spent time at the military section of the local cemetery, clearing all of the graves and laying a potted flowering plant on each one. This act of kindness was aimed toward the loved ones of the lost soldiers, a gesture of support and love as a greater community.
Yom Haatzmaut is a celebratory day, where patrons of Meir Panim’s Restuarant-Style Soup Kitchens enjoyed a hot meal, as always, but in a particularly festive atmosphere, so that they could enjoy the special day like the rest of the country. Even though Yom Haatzmaut is a National holiday, our staff and volunteers come in to make sure our diners have a warm meal and are taken care of as all year round.