My grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Today we commemorate the remembrances of the terrible war: the hatred; the ignorance; the ambivalence; the horrors; the evil; the cruelty; the loss of humanity; the people. Today we remind ourselves over and over again of the bravery; the heroism; the strengths; the ability to overcome; the rehabilitation; the will to survive; the brotherhood; the people.

My grandparents were Holocaust survivors. They lost their families, their homes, their positions and their dignity. But they never forgot who they are and where they came from, and I was raised to know better. To know that people have rights. To know that we are all equal. To know that we all have the right to live and believe in God and in ourselves. To know that I belong; I am a citizen of the world and a part of Israeli people.

My grandparents were Holocaust survivors. The Holocaust was a result of ignorance and fear of something different: A different culture; a different God; a different language for prayer; different clothing. The fear that comes from not knowing the people.

My grandparents were Holocaust survivors. It has been 69 years since that terrible war was over, and ignorance still rules information distributed on the news, social media and private conversation. It is time to stop the fear. It is time to get to know each better and understand that we are all the same. We all love our children. We all share the desire to succeed. We all wish our dear ones and ourselves health and happiness, because the right to live well is so much greater than our cultural difference. I admit that it isn’t easy to avoid judgments of someone who is not like us. But if we can be open, and get to know “the other”, we may find out that there’s a lot that we can learn from one another.

My grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Last year, I established the “Israeli Faces” initiative, to overcome cultural gaps. I have no doubt that if we come to know each other’s culture better, hatred and fear will no longer control our lives and create mistakes that last for generations. I have initiated programs for Israelis who care and who want to share their Israel with the world, without politics or hidden agendas. I have invited Israelis traveling abroad to initiate meetings with other world travelers, because I truly believe that there is nothing like “person to person” communication to correct misconceptions and show the world the real Israel – OUR ISRAEL!

My grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Today, I mourn for the loss of my family in Europe, but I am holding my head high, knowing my grandparents survived and taught me to be a better person. Knowing they’ve built a strong country, open to all religions in the world. Knowing life should be cherished. I hope that the way I have chosen to make sure the Holocaust will never happen again is making them proud and allows them to rest in peace.

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