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IDF To Remove ‘God’ From Memorial Text

Defense officials plan to recommend that the Yizkor text that was the subject of a dispute last year be officially included in Memorial Day services at military cemeteries.

The dispute centered around whether the words “Yizkor Elohim” (“May God remember” ) or “Yizkor Am Yisrael” (“May the nation of Israel remember” ) should be used. In the end, the second version won out.

The decision to officially recommend the text was made after the text – either version – was omitted from many Memorial Day ceremonies this year, apparently due to confusion after last year’s debate.

Though the Yizkor text for fallen soldiers is modeled after the traditional Yizkor memorial prayer, it is not a prayer, but a text penned by Labor Zionist leader Berl Katznelson in the 1920s. It was never a required element in military memorial services, though it was read at many services.

Last year a debate erupted over a version recited in military cemeteries, which began with “Yizkor Elohim,” although Katznelson’s original version began with “Yizkor Am Yisrael.” The change, made after the Six-Day War by IDF Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren, raised no complaints until last year, when a secular bereaved mother raised the issue and the media picked up on it.

For more, go to Haaretz.com

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