10am. And the siren sounded - cars stopped. People got out of their cars, standing at attention, hands at their sides or clasped behind their backs.
This same siren sounds every Shabbat to signal the beginning of our day of rest.
And today, this same siren signifies the eternal rest of so many of our people.
In ancient days, the ram's horn called people to prayer.
In modern days, youngsters learn how to blow the horn to bring in the new year, to help in repentance. If you've ever walked into a store that sells the rams' horns, Shofar, you immediately exit. The smell is atrocious. They were once attached to a live ram.
Birthright participants pack the shofar into the overhead compartment on their El-Al flight home - a souvenir of a life changing experience - a Judaism that sadly many will never visit again, quickly returning to their lives they left to come here for ten days.
When the flight lands, they'll rush off the plane to catch a connecting flight and the flight attendants will clear out the bins, collecting the lost and forgotten ram's horns...
This same horn, a siren today -
a call to worship,
We sat in the courtyard as they lined up to read names. A laundry list of family, to the Nazis a list of animals no different than the grocery list hung on the refrigerator.
My classmates wife read the names of her Italian family who perished in the Holocaust and returned to her husband, to scoop up in her arms their new baby boy. The cycle continues and from death comes life...
Every year the sound of the ram's horn will cause us to stand still for just a moment and remember...