Two Films for Two Days: of Mourning and of Celebration

In Israel there are two back-to-back holidays that both begin with the word Yom. On the first day, Israelis grieve. On the second they rejoice. Israel has much to mourn and much to celebrate.

Yom Hazikaron is a commemoration of Israel’s fallen soldiers. On this day every Israeli stops to pay honor to the memory of  friends, family and fellow Israelis who have given their lives in defense of the Jewish homeland. The country comes to a complete halt when the sirens sound signifying a communal moment of shared sorrow.

As the Yom Hazikaron siren sounds, an entire nation comes to a halt to mourn its fallen soldiers.

Yom Ha’atzmaut is a day of joyous celebration that honors of the miracle of Israel’s survival. It is a happy time of thanksgiving, a time of appreciation for all that Israel represents to its citizens who live freely as Jews in their own state.

You could say these two “Yoms” exemplify the Israeli experience.

Here in Boulder, we show solidarity for the Israeli people by observing both the commemoration and the celebration. The Boulder Jewish Film Festival sponsors two film programs that capture the emotions and experiences of these two days.

“Beneath the Helmet” focuses on fresh young IDF soldiers

There will be a special Yom Hazikaron Screening ofBeneath the Helmet: From High School to the Home Front on Wednesday, April 22, 7:00 pm at the Boedecker Theater in the Dairy Center for the Arts. For tickets, CLICK HERE. 

The new film is coming of age story that highlights five young Israeli high school graduates who at age 18 find themselves away from home, family and friends, defending their country – a demanding and ultimately revealing journey. This personal, inside look at the IDF illustrates how these men and women define their ideas about peace, equality, opportunity, religious tolerance and women’s rights as they learn valuable lessons about putting these shared values to the test.  The evening is sponsored by the Jewish National Fund.

Rabbi Ami Silver, who spent seven years in Israel, leads the Yom Hazikaron commemoration.

Rabbi Ami Silver will introduce the film with some opening remarks about the significance of Yom Hazikaron in Israeli society and its place in the contemporary Jewish psyche. His 15-minute presentation will frame the screening and will include a memorial prayer for Israel’s fallen soldiers. Rabbi Silver and his wife lived in Israel for over seven years and they arrived in Boulder this past August to lead Kehillat Orot Yisrael, Boulder’s Orthodox synagogue and community. For more information or to contact Rabbi Silver, email

israel insideIsrael Inside: How a Small Nation Makes a Big Difference,” which was made by the producers of “Beneath the Helmet,” will be screened at the Boulder JCC at noon Thursday, April 23 in celebration of Yom Ha’atzmaut. To register, CLICK HERE

Narrator Tal Ben Shahar explores the positive characteristics of Israeli society from a humanistic, psychological, and emotional perspective in this uplifting documentary, which sidesteps the usual conversation of politics, conflict and violence, and tells the story of the Israeli people – whose resilience has propelled Israel to the forefront of world innovation and progress.

Why are Israelis happy? Tal Ben Shahar suggests answers in “Israeli Inside.”

Despite daily challenges ranging from limited resources to security needs, Israel has made significant advancements in the fields of science, environment, medicine and technology, and has shared these developments with the rest of the world. How did this happen? What underlying growth factors have given rise to this small nation’s triumph over adversity?

Professor Tal Ben Shahar has the unique distinction of having been Harvard University’s most popular lecturer, known for Popular Psychology classes. Despite his success, he decided to return to his native-born country, Israel, where he began work on this film. He is the author of the international best-sellers “Happier,” and “Being Happy.”

israel inside 2
Innovations and inventions are but one of Israel’s achievements.

For more information, contact Kathryn Bernheimer, 303-998-1021,

About Kathryn Bernheimer

Kathryn has spent her professional life writing about, teaching, and presenting the arts. Founding Director of the Boulder Jewish Film Festival, Kathryn was Director of Menorah and ACE at the Boulder JCC from 2003 through August, 2019. The former film and theater critic for the Boulder Daily Camera, Kathryn is the author of "The Fifty Greatest Jewish Movies" and "The Fifty Funniest Films of All Time."

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