Israel’s Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror (known as “Yom Hazikaron”), is observed very seriously by all of Israeli society as a very somber day. Families and friends visit the graves of deceased loved ones, sad music plays all day on the radio, and special programming replaces regularly-scheduled television shows. Every year, Israeli society seeks new, impactful ways to remember those who’ve fallen.
A cultural and social center in Jerusalem (established by the AVI CHAI Foundation), began doing the unexpected by funding animated content commemorating the somber day, in a new project called “Face. Day. Remembrance.” In this program, families and writers submit recollections of fallen loved ones and young animators are commissioned to create short videos based on the stories.
Each year the foundation selects five animated shorts to be screened on national television. One of my most special life achievements was to have a short story I wrote turned into an animated short for airing on Israel’s most popular TV station!.
My story, Paper Boats, is in memory of my childhood friend, Ezra Asher, who was killed by friendly fire in southern Lebanon, twenty years ago. In the story, Ezra steps out of his own obituary to speak with a young boy dealing with his father about to ship off to war.
Animation by Ofira Levanon and Hadass Gilboa