Amit Farkash, the featured speaker at the community Yom HaZikaron (Israeli Memorial Day) observance Tuesday night, May 10, at Ahavath Achim Synagogue, made visits to Atlanta day schools while she was in town.
Farkash’s older brother, Israel Defense Forces pilot Tom Farkash, died in a helicopter crash during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and she gained national notoriety after singing “Millions of Stars,” written by a friend about her brother, at his funeral.
Davis Academy students honored Farkash by singing the song during her stop at the Reform day school with Israeli Deputy Consul General Ron Brummer, who was observing his final Yom HaZikaron before the end of his term in Atlanta.
Fifth- to 12th-graders at Atlanta Jewish Academy also met with Farkash, now an actress, who told them about her brother’s life and death and how the song she sang became a national symbol for the Second Lebanon War.
AJA students paid tribute to the fallen soldiers of that war against Hezbollah during the school’s Yom HaZikaron observances. After the Israeli flag was lowered to half-staff, third- through eighth-graders attended a Lower School ceremony presented by the sixth grade that featured the stories of Farkash and two other Israeli soldiers killed in the Second Lebanon War, Ro’ie Klein and Michael Klein.
Gil Saidian, a representative of Israel’s air force, spoke at the Lower School and recognized AJA’s love for Israel. Seth Baron, the Southeast executive director of Friends of the IDF, explained how his organization cares for lone soldiers from Atlanta and around the world who enlist in the IDF.
Brummer, an AJA parent, spoke to the Upper School students. He said no family in Israel is untouched by war; all have lost friends or relatives who died to help keep Israel safe. Erez Ezer of the Israeli air force told the AJA students what a comfort it was to see them blessing Israeli troops.
As it did throughout the Jewish world, the mood lifted the next day for Yom HaAtzmaut (Israeli Independence Day). At AJA, morning events included a whole school assembly with an Israeli flag drill by seventh-graders and a flash mob. AJA Lower School students also enjoyed eight Israeli-themed activities, including shopping at a shuk, writing notes for the Kotel and running through an IDF fitness course.