Yom Hazikaron: An Unexpected Honor

Yesterday, we reported on the two days earlier this week, Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut.  While the days will definitely stick in everyones’ collective memories for a long, long time, for one particular chanicha, it will stay in her memory for even longer.
When Masa Israel Journey approached us and asked for a lucky participant to play a special role during the official tekes on Har Herzl, Helene Zinckgraf of New Jersey was the big winner, chosen to represent Year Course (as the largest Israel program) and therefore all of Masa.
At 8:30 in the morning, Helene arrived to Har Herzl accompanied by a Masa employee, in time to go through all the security checks (a lot but not unexpected).  Helene’s job?  To escort Jewish Agency chairman and Israeli politician Natan Sharansky as he laid a wreath on the resting place of fallen soldiers.
Natan Sharansky is a Jewish hero, an activist who spent years imprisoned in the Gulag, a Soviet labor camp, before being freed to make aliyah to Israel.  Imagine Helene’s surprise when he walked right up to her, introducing himself and engaging her in conversation.  He asked about her year in Israel and her experience on Year Course and was reportedly very friendly!

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