You Promised Me ‘Never Again’

(Credit: Envato Elements-Video Sparks)
(Credit: Envato Elements-Video Sparks)

My whole life, I believed in you.
I waited for you, yearned for you.
I grew up without you, but knew that you were there. 

My parents, my teachers, my community raised me to love you.
To trust you. To look to you for hope when there was none.
To look to you for inspiration. 

I came from all over the world to be a part of you.
To support the very idea of you.
To give to something that meant everything,
that was everything.

I came to be protected by you.
I came from pain, from anguish. From persecution, from suffering.
Sometimes I even came from safety, from happiness and wealth.
But I came anyway.

I built you.
I worked your land, I erected your cities.
I transformed you into something beautiful.  

I fought for you.
I died for you. My children died for you.
I survived Hitler’s camps in order to be killed defending you. 

In return, you made me a promise.
You promised me my People would be safe.
You promised me “Never Again”.
You promised that things would be different now;
That we would never again be sheep led to slaughter.
That we’d be new, that we’d be strong.

But on that day, you broke your promise,
And something within me, something between us, shattered forever.

Now I lay here, bleeding. Not just my body, but my soul.
Where were you? Why were you not there for me when I needed you most?
I believed. I gave. I loved.
Yet I was abandoned. Betrayed.

I am a Jew.
Hardened by pain. Strengthened by hope.
I don’t know if what was broken can ever be repaired,
But I will always believe in you.
I will always give to you.
I will always love you.

I promise.

About the Author
Avi Kahn is a father and husband living in Bet Shemesh. He made Aliyah from Columbus, Ohio in 2015 and served in the IDF as a Lone Soldier in the Paratrooper Brigade. He has fought on multiple fronts in the current war, including Kfar Aza on October 7th, Southern Gaza, and Israel's Northern border.
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