How Jewish and Muslim Children Celebrated Memorial Day

As the country memorialized Israeli soldiers who died in service of the country, the Max Rayne School for Bilingual Education found a way for Jewish and Muslim children to mark the day in a manner that respected both cultures.  


As the country stood at attention during the 2 minute siren, students were offered a number of choices:  some attended the memorial ceremony in the school's yard, some watched a movie about Israeli and Palestinian mothers who lost their children in the conflict, others attended discussions that allowed them to express their personal feelings, thoughts and experiences.  


One Arab student, whose uncle died in a terror attack, attended the memorial ceremony in the school yard, performed a song together with his Jewish classmates, but choose to leave as Israel's national anthem was sung.  


The school made every effort to give children the space and freedom to express their feelings while remaining responsible,  respectful and considerate of others.  Students engaged in the activities that best suited them, and afterward, gathered under an olive tree they called "Ez HaShalom", the tree of peace, and together sung "Shir LaShalom," a song for peace, releasing a red, heart-shaped balloon into the air that carried the peaceful wishes of the students.  One of those included a prayer by a second grader:  


At night, after mother turns off the light, I pray to god that Daddy will not have to go into the army, that there will be no war, and that Mommy will not be sad again.