I spoke with a new friend today.
We met a few weeks ago.
She’s a strong, kind woman.

As far as life circumstances go, she’s pretty down and out.
She’s a single, disabled mom, raising her youngest, without many resources. 

She immigrated to Israel with a Jewish movement from Bulgaria almost thirty years ago.
She did her best to build a life for herself.
She married. Had a few kids. 

During the second Lebanon War, while on her porch with her husband, the Iron Dome intercepted an incoming rocket which exploded mid-air.
She and her husband took shrapnel from it.
She lost vision in one eye and her husband lost the use of his leg.

It wasn’t easy before that.

Easy is not a concept she has much experience with. 

Her husband (who was not in great health) died suddenly a couple of weeks ago, before Chanukah. 

Her daughter is a classmate of one of my kids.
That’s how we met. 

Anyway, we had a really sweet chat today.

We spoke about resilience. 

I couldn’t think of an exact word for resilience in Hebrew so I described to her what I meant.

It’s this thing that’s alive inside of us.
We don’t really notice it’s there.
But it tends to show itself after repeated hits and knockouts.

It’s what pushes us forward in spite of the bleakness of the facts on the ground.

It’s an inner life vest that expands when the weight of the world threatens to pull you under.
It’s what allows you to lift your head
-while the waves threaten to drown you-
and catch a glimpse at the shoreline.
Then start start making your way there.

Resilience is in abundance in these parts.
Resilience deserves honor.
Resilience deserves love.

To all of the Mamas and the Papas who have been displaced from your homes.

For what it is worth, I want you to know that I see you.
I see you making the best life for your children in a single hotel room, at your daughter’s house, in a caravan.
While your man, your father, your brothers, your aunt, nieces, nephews, and cousins are away at war.

While your home (or the home you once knew) is still an active war zone.
While you grieve for all you have lost.
While you hunger still, for signs of life from your neighbors, friends, and family still held in captivity in the hands of monsters.
While you process the horrors you lived through on Oct 7th and 8th.

You are seen.
You are loved.
May Gd bless you all with days full of good moments and may sleep come to you easy at night.


Invictus: By William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.


In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.


Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.


It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.