A while ago, I took this photo of a lotus blossom floating on an oasis’s surface in Sarona Market in Tel Aviv, scene of tonight’s terrorist attack. A lotus symbolizes the journey of the soul, rising from the mud and reaching for the light. Sarona Market was a lot like that — a haven in which people of all kinds reached for a moment of joy.

Inside, there was the stall of an older Arab woman who sold food cooked in gigantic metal pots. A handsome French dude sold cookware. You could buy popsicles, tomatoes, micro-brewed beer and rice paper to make your own spring rolls. Most grocery stores in Israel are sparse (something of a surprise when you get here), so going to Sarona was a treat.

I live about a mile away from Sarona Market, and I walk by often. I was a block away at about 9:00 last night, when two terrorists started shooting. Four people were killed and more were horribly injured. I heard the sirens but I barely noticed — you hear sirens all the time here. But now it’s almost 5 a.m the next morning and I still can’t sleep. I’m trying not to hate the killers. I’m trying not to hate the psychopaths who bribed and propagandized those killers to kill. I’m trying not to hate everyone who believes the lies perpetuated about the only democracy in the Mideast, this tiny ancient homeland of the Jewish people, which is basically just a small scrap of desert.

Multicultural Sarona was left with uneaten birthday cake and puddles of blood. The sirens are silenced. I still love Israel. Am Israel Chai. There’s so much damn mud in the human heart. And I am desperate for light.

Lotus blossom in Sarona Market's urban oasis

Lotus blossom in Sarona Market’s urban oasis