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What I'm trying to do instead of crying and doomscrolling

I used to blog at least once a month, approximately.

But I haven't posted since October and there's a reason.


It’s been six months since the most horrific massacre of Jews since the Holocaust.


Six months that over 130 families are living a unique form of torture- knowing their loved ones were brutally abducted into the terrorism-infested region of Gaza.


Six months since the murder of 1200+ innocent, peace-minded Israelis and visitors in Israel- from a music festival, in bedrooms, and civilian cars, many of them raped, burned, tortured, and mutilated in unspeakably sadistic ways.


Six months since the evil monsters who perpetrated this coordinated, premeditated attack vowed to do it again and again until they complete their intended genocide of first Israelis, and eventually anyone who doesn’t conform to their radical Islamist agenda of worldwide, totalitarian Sharia law.


Six months since Hamas forced Israel into the awful position of needing to either join this brutal war, or surrender to more brutality, rape, and murder.


Six months since Israel has had to sacrifice the lives of 600 more courageous warriors to defend the safety of the millions of other innocent citizens who Hamas have vowed to obliterate “from the river to the sea.”


Six months since the far left “progressive West” shockingly dismissed the terrorism of 10/07 and beyond, and chose instead to focus on maligning and vilifying those fighting a defensive war of survival.


Six months that the powers that be in the media and academia have rewritten history in defense of barbarism, and perpetrated a nefarious propaganda campaign against not only Israel, but Jews everywhere, mislabeling Israel and Jews oppressors and Jihadi terrorists, the oppressed.


Six months that over 130 hostages, of varying nationalities and religions, but all taken from Israel, are likely suffering the worst forms of torture and sexual violence, with little to no visible recourse, notably ignored and abandoned by the Red Cross and the UN.


It’s been a nightmarish six months and counting, in varying degrees of severity, depending how close one is to the inner circle of hostages and mourners. I haven’t been so expressive about it because I haven’t felt that it’s my place to speak; I prefer to listen to and center the hostage families, the heroes of the IDF and those who are on the ground in Israel actively taking part in the efforts.  


I still feel that way, but I’ve learned that usually when I’m struggling with something, I’m not the only one. And there are a lot of us here outside of Israel living our own overseas experience of this war. So, with the acknowledgement that it’s nothing compared to those more directly and deeply affected in Israel, I’m going to share what I’ve been struggling with, and some suggestions that I’ve been finding helpful.


I’ve been struggling with worry, grief, anger, and tears.


Worry for the hostages and the thousands of ripple effects of trauma.

Worry about Jews everywhere, and the undeniable goal of radical, extremist Islamists to conquer and destroy the free world. And the bizarre complicity of those who claim to advocate for civil rights and freedom.


Grief for the over 1200 brutally, senselessly murdered Israelis on 10/07, and the over 600 more lives lost in the war. If someone were to sit shiva for all of them consecutively, that would mean sitting and crying for 34 and half years. (And don’t come at me about 30,000 Palestinians- that number has zero credibility; it was pulled from thin air by terrorists calling themselves a “ministry.” I do feel sad for the loss of Gazan civilian life too, but that too is 100% the fault of Hamas, who has oppressed its own people, endangered, and sacrificed them in this war. They should have looked after their own. I grieve for my own sisters and brothers first.)


Anger for the unspeakable evil perpetrated against my people, yet again, on 10/07. Anger at the disinformed, pseudoprogressive left, who believe and spread propaganda and gaslighting accusations against Israel and Jews. Anger at the West for not realizing that Israel is the dam resisting the Radical Islamist Caliphate that wants to subjugate us all to the brutality of Sharia law.


And tears. So many tears – tantrumming to G-d about the ocean of pain we’re seeing and feeling.

Like so many others, I’ve been struggling with a persistent ache in my throat, my chest, my stomach, my soul, for the last six months. I’ve been struggling with the guilt of being able to eat food, take a shower, hug my children, and work, as I try not to imagine what the hostages are going through.


So I’ve been trying to redirect this energy, the worry, grief, anger, and tears, away from despondency and doomscrolling, and towards useful action, and here are some things I try to do daily:


1.       Pray. Constantly. Official prayers, general prayers, specific prayers for the hostages, the soldiers, for peace, and Psalms. Prayers in my own words, holy words, angry words, terrified words, and wordless cries of desperation, but all directed to G-d. I find that studying Torah philosophy helps me with my faith as well (some days).

2.       Write. Emailing elected officials, signing petitions, advocating online and offline for the hostages, for Israel, the IDF, Jews, and freedom. And amplify voices promoting truth and morality in the media- both social and mainstream. Also, journaling feelings, fears, faith, and hope.

3.       Donate. Small amounts regularly to various causes supporting Israel and Israelis who are affected by the war. It’s therapeutic to give, even a little, and even from afar.

4.       Connect. Trying to call or message friends and family in Israel, along with those who are here in the US but worrying about loved ones there, just to check in, offer support, and send love.

5.       Show up as a vocal, unapologetic Jew, Zionist, and/ or ally. For me, besides for my usual religious practices, I also now try to wear a silver Jewish star, a hostage tag, and a piece of tape with the day number on it, per the request of Rachel Goldberg, mother of wounded hostage Hersh Goldberg-Polin.

6.       Gratitude. Trying to shift from survivor’s guilt to gratitude- focus on appreciating and sharing the blessings that are here (for now). Trying to be mindful during the regular responsibilities and life-things, like family, friends, work, learning, and home, realizing that partaking them is a sacred privilege. I think we need to keep moving and living in order to generate hope that things can get better- for everyone.


There is no playbook, no set of rules prescribing how many tears to cry, how often it’s ok to laugh, how many words to pray, how many dollars to donate, how many times to recite the hostage names, how many minutes should be allowed go by where we don’t actively feel the punch in the gut of sorrow. Some people might feel they’re not feeling or doing enough. Some might feel they’re obsessing to the point of excess. Some may feel paralyzed by helplessness or anger; others removed or detached. These suggestions are not clinical recommendations. They’re just some humble observations of small things that I’m finding help me when I’m slipping too far into the pain, to help refocus mind, heart, and soul.


Praying and sending blessings for salvation, peace, and a much better world. Soon.

 

 

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