Yom Hashoah, the Holocaust Remembrance Day, is a day for mourning. A day for remembering. A day for never forgetting. But for me, I see it also as a day of triumph. A day of declaration that we survived and will continue to exist and flourish.
I first realized this association with the Shoah (the Holocaust) three years ago. I graduated high school in February, and went with my high school class to Poland and the Czech republic for two weeks and then Israel for a couple months.
It was in Eastern Europe, when I was walking in the footsteps of my people who were brutally massacred in the Holocaust, that I made my decision to move to Israel. It was from the ashes of the most horrible evils imaginable that I recognized how far our people have come.
Yes, Yom Hashoah should be a time to mourn those we have lost. The 6 million lives, and the lives that would have come from them. But it is also a time to realize our refusal to face defeat. Now, 71 years after the war has ended, our people have a country. We continue to prosper. The fact that we exist today proves that the Nazis were not successful in their mission.
It was not in Israel that I decided to move to the Holy Land. But rather, it was when I witnessed the stories that were never told. The voices that were never heard. The lives that were never lived. It was at this moment that I realized how important it is to continue the triumph. It was then that I recognized how essential it was to ensure that Hitler’s vision would never come true. It was then that I focused on our triumph and not our defeat.
I will never forget, I will always remember, that Am Yisrael Chai. The People of Israel Live.