Tuesday, April 24, 2012

ANZAC Day in Jerusalem today

Many photos today, but I want you to feel as if you were with me at Jerusalem's ANZAC Day Commemoration Service this morning.

ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps.
Aussies and Kiwis observe the day on April 25.

But this year the 25th is also the date of Israel's Day of Remembrance for fallen soldiers and victims of terror, so ANZAC Day was commemorated today instead of tomorrow.

Come, enter the Jerusalem War Cemetery on Mount Scopus.

It is one of many many cemeteries around the world for which the Commonwealth War Graves Commission is responsible.

In the Jerusalem War Cemetery are 2,515 Commonwealth burials of the First World War, 100 of them unidentified.
On the wall on the sides of the chapel are engraved the names of 3,366 Commonwealth servicemen who fought and died in Egypt and Palestine during the Great War and who have no known grave.

At today's ceremony Rabbi Dr. Raymond Apple, a former chaplain and the rabbi emeritus of Sydney's Great Synagogue, read the 23rd Psalm.
To see his medals please enlarge the photo.

After Ambassador of Australia Ms. Andrea Faulkner gave the ANZAC Day address, Lt. Col. Steer of the MFO (Multinational Force and Observers) Australian Contingent read
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
. . .

As H.E. the Ambassador laid the first wreath, one normally strong and motionless-standing-at-attention member of the catafalque party began flexing his limbs and was led away . . .

. . . to be replaced by a nice sailor girl, as a Turk laid another wreath.

The Last Post on the bugle, silence, and The Rouse followed the reading of the "Ode to the Fallen"
They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, not the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.
The national anthems of Australia and New Zealand and a benediction prayer ended the moving ceremony.

Many groups and institutions had come up to the catafalque to place their wreath.

This year's program featured an old photo of diggers standing in the sand near a row of sabras.
The Ambassador said the one who took the World War I snapshot had written just "Pals" on the back and that this was the beginning time of the Aussie spirit of mateship.

After the official ceremony, Rabbi Apple led many of us over to the 24 Jewish graves for Kaddish and a Psalm.
A second rabbi sang El Malei Rachamim.

All were surprised to find that fresh flowers, a memorial candle, and a black-ribbon-draped Israel flag had been placed at each Jewish grave.

People visited each Jewish grave, read the names, and some put a little stone on the marker in respect.

Then we all walked to the far side of the big and beautiful cemetery to come together near tables of refreshments.

I went back to visit the empty chapel and found this wreath from previous years.
The message stays the same.
For more about the Jerusalem War Cemetery and for previous ANZAC Days, please see my earlier posts here.
This post is dedicated to the Sydney-based cemetery meme Taphophile Tragics.


  1. Oh Dina that is an amazing post. Thank you so much.
    I have just come home from the Dawn Service and getting ready to take my kids to the march in a few hours.
    Once again thank you for all the photos. I would like to visit this cemetery one day and pay my respects.

  2. A deep bow in respect.

  3. Through your post
    I am able to participate.

    Thank YOU, Dina

  4. its so great to have these who have given their lives for what they believe in be honored in such a beautiful way and so natioanlly recognized.

  5. Thank you for the images. I am glad the Jerusalem War Cemetery, with its thousands of WW1 British Empire burials, is beautifully maintained.

    Today is the most important memorial day for Australians and New Zealanders, at home, but it is important that cemeteries in France, Belgium and Israel participate.

  6. Very moving, Dina, and wonderful photos.

  7. A really moving and informative post. Thanks for sharing, Dina.

  8. very moving!

    i really liked this wonderful and informative post. wonderful photos, too.

    thank you.

  9. Lest we forget...
    Thank you, Dina, for this very appropriate and moving post.

  10. Wonderful post, thanks you for sharing...

  11. Wonderful post Dina, a beautifully heartfelt tribute. I hope that you're not too disappointed with my images tomorrow, the Dawn Service is particularly hard to get good shots, for two reasons, the light or lack of at that time is tricky and I find it almost impossible to take pictures of people when their emotions are so strong, feels like I'm intruding..I would never make a good newspaper photographer haha!

  12. Impressive and moving, great reportage!

  13. Thank you for your account of this moving ceremony. I didn't know that it was ANZAC Day. We have our Remembrance Day on the 4th May ending on the Eve of Liberation Day. Our Queen,her son, the crownprince and his wife open the ceremony by laying the first wreath at the Monument on the Dam in Amsterdam.This happens after the one-minute of silence at eight o'clock PM.It's a ceremony not much different from yours. There is always a group of survivors of the concentration camps( both German and Japanese) and representatives of our Jewish community.It's always very solemn and sober.There is a lot to think about.

  14. thanks for all the pics!
    what is with the red flowers? i saw them in several grave posts about anzac now. is it something specific? do you happen to know?

  15. CaT, shalom.
    Wiki says
    "The remembrance poppy (a Papaver rhoeas) has been used since 1920 to commemorate soldiers who have died in war. They were first used in the United States to commemorate soldiers who died in World War I (1914–1918). Today, they are mainly used in current and former Commonwealth states to commemorate their servicemen and women who have been killed since 1914. In those states, small artificial poppies are often worn on clothing on Remembrance Day/Armistice Day (11 November) and in the weeks before it. Poppy wreaths are also often laid at war memorials."

    See the whole article at

    This use was inspired by the poem that starts "In Flanders fields the poppies blow ..."
    The poem is here:

  16. Thanks Dina, for allowing me to be a part of something important that I would otherwise not even known about. Blessings

  17. Very moving.
    And the poppy wreaths are beautiful.

  18. A beautiful post. Well done, indeed. We have a Memorial Day that is officially opened by former soldiers of the four services and our VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars) members are usually the ones who carry the flags and fire their rifles in salute.

  19. It is very good of you to honor their valor with your presence and remembrance, Dina.

  20. What a coverage, Dina. I was pleased to see Rabbi Apple there, too. I was involved with him a little when I worked at Emanuel School in Randwick.

    I received your email on the same day and will respond to that tomorrow.

    Thank you for this terrific contribution to Taphophile Tragics. I am so very pleased that many people read and commented on your wonderful work.

  21. The mention of the poppies revived a memory of my mom, who was in the VFW auxiliary giving poppies to people who donated money. The money was for the veterans. The VFW is for veterans of foreign wars. The auxiliary is for the women who have spouses or brothers who served in a war fought on foreign soil. I appreciate your photos. I guess I'm a taphophile too; the art and history on them are fascinating.

  22. Thanks to Taphphile Tragics I've learned about ANZAC Day, here from you, and from others on their blogs. Lest we forget, yes... but when do we learn?

  23. So glad to have found this post, have you visited the ANZAC cemetery in Beer Sheva? For a long time it was the only green spot in a desert city.
    Thought of you yesterday when I took photos of the massive pit at Naomi St & Derech Hevron.

    Sharon A
    The Real Jerusalem Streets

  24. Sharon shalom, I have an old photo of the Beersheva cemetery, but only from the entrance. I still haven't been inside to roam leisurely.
    Good point about it being the only lawn in town.

    How is the construction going?

    Readers, visit Sharon's great blog, "The Real Jerusalem Streets."


Thanks for your comment!
Comment moderation is on so I will see any new comments even on older posts!