The Jewish Community Board of Akron commemorated Yom Hazikaron and Yom Ha’atzmaut with a joint in-person event on May 5 at the Schultz Campus for Jewish Life in Akron.

Featuring an acoustic set by Israeli singer-songwriter Rami Feinstein, programming included a dinner catered by Efrat’s Cafe, a Yom Hazikaron commemoration and several addresses from area rabbis, community leaders and Jewish Akron residents. Feinstein performed in both Hebrew and English, and has been touring for 10 years in the United States. Several weeks ago, Feinstein was featured in Akron at The Summit radio station and visited The Lippman School as part of a larger U.S. tour called “It’s Gotta Mean Something.”

In opening the event, John Keverkamp, vice president of the JCBA and executive director of the Shaw JCC, talked about commemorating those who have fallen in defending Israel and victims of terror, as well as celebrating the birthday of Israel’s independence.

Two Israeli-American Akron residents, Moshe Torum and Meir Ohayon, spoke about their experiences serving in the Israel Defense Forces. Torum spoke mostly about Yom Hazikaron.

“As you know, the process in Israel begins with Yom Hazikaron, which is a day of remembrance,” Torum said. “Obviously, it’s a day of sadness, remembering those that have fallen in the different battles and wars that were involved in the establishment of the state of Israel, as well as allowing it to continue to exist and protect it from a whole variety of enemies.”

A video was shown of a siren sounding across Israel, signaling Yom Hazikaron, in which attendees then participated in a moment of silence.

Ohayon, who served three years in the Israeli navy, spoke about Yom Ha’atzmaut. He said he served as a gunman, and his unit would patrol the shore of Israel to limit any “potential terror threat.”

“This is a very special day for all of us,” he said. “We are fortunate enough to have the name of Israel as the home of the Jewish people.”

Three rabbis – Rabbi Moshe Sasonkin of Chabad of Akron, Rabbi Josh Brown of Temple Israel in Bath Township and Rabbi Jeremy Lipton of Beth El Congregation in Akron – also led attendees in prayer. Brian Rolnick-Fox, a member of the JCBA’s board of trustees, introduced Rachel Osherow, who sang “Hatikvah.”

After the program, Feinstein played his acoustic set for attendees.