Most Tel Aviv stores and restaurants were shuttered today at dusk in readiness for “Holocaust and Heroism Remembrance Day.” Tomorrow will be my first “Yom HaZikaron laShoah ve-laG’vurah” in Israel. A two-minute long siren will remind us of the murderous Nazis. Six million Jews tortured/killed. Fifty million lives of every kind, worldwide, devoured by WWII. Much of gorgeous Europe turned into a man-made hell.

Here in Israel, at ten in the morning when the siren sounds, people on every street, highway and sidewalk will stop what they’re doing. People will get out of their cars. They’ll get off of their bikes. Pedestrians will stop walking. Everyone will listen to the sirens’ blare. Souls who were born into Poland, Ethiopia, Argentina, Sudan, China, Morocco, the USA, Yemen, Egypt, Lebanon, France, Iran, Russian, Chile, Iraq and many other nations will look at each other and remember that they are brothers and sisters. They will remember the courage of those who fought the Nazis.

Though I am the descendent of Holocaust refugees/survivors on both sides of my family, and, for me, remembering isn’t the least bit new, this year I’m having a hard time containing my tears. Yes, I feel a deep grief. And a calm sure defiance: Never again motherf*ckers. Never again.

But I also feel joy. Being alive is a miracle.