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Blog: Holocaust Remembrance Day Brought New Meaning

Pikesville resident Alex Simone is serving in the Israeli Army, and discusses his Passover celebration, as well as Yom Ha’Shoah—Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Training in the Israel Defense Forces isn't only about grenades and marksmanship.

It also brings responsibilities such as shmira—guard duty, spending time away from family—and pride, according to Alex Simone, a Pikesville native who is serving as a paratrooper in the Israel Defense Forces.

"Almost all laws, including the laws of Shabbat and prayer, take on a different meaning when put in the context of the duty to protect human life," he wrote April 22 in his blog "ShalomYaakov in Israel: A Repository of My New Life in the Holy Land."

He also reveals how he felt celebrating Passover away from his family, and how brought more pride in defending the independent state of Israel.

"The day took on a whole new meaning to me now that I am in a position to prevent another Holocaust from happening," he wrote. "I know that sounds dramatic, but you wouldn’t have to read the news for long to see some Arab leader or Neo-Nazi perpetuating hatred and urging violence against Jews."

"My platoon commander said that 70 years ago, at the deepest depths of our history, no one on earth would have believed that a Jewish army could exist, let alone defend a secure Jewish state."

Vito Simone May 02, 2012 at 02:24 PM
Alex has grown so much and taught us so much throughout his journey in Israel and with the IDF. Tomorrow is a very special day for him as his ceremony at the Kotel takes place where he is formally part of the Tzanchanim (Paratroopers). 12:30 pm EDT we will be watching on Skype! Next year in Jerusalem Vito and Gail
Janet Metzner May 02, 2012 at 02:44 PM
Vito: That is wonderful! Congratulations to Alex and your family. I've enjoyed reading about his experiences. Could you post some video from the ceremony for us? Maybe you can video part of what you see on Skype? That would be so interesting, and probably inspirational as well!

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