It has been a very difficult week. Perhaps the most difficult that I have experienced with Amudim Israel. The Simchat Torah massacre will forever be remembered as one of the darkest days in contemporary Jewish history. The ensuing state of war continues to escalate by the hour, creeping closer towards conflict on a global scale. We have all been chased by rocket sirens to our saferooms at one point or another. We all know someone or someone's relative who is in active military service, waiting for the call to charge into combat. We are all mourning, and we are all scared. It has been a very difficult week.
But we have circled our wagons, we have had each other’s backs, and we have risen to continue meeting the critical mental health needs of our community.
And then, just as we started feeling that we were getting our bearings, just as we were beginning to feel a sense of normalcy in the midst of disorder, we were hit by even more devastation. We were called to the scene of a tragic loss of life of a gap-year student from a population with whom our office works very closely. Once Amudim Israel staff arrived, emergency services handed off the heavy task of ensuring that critical mental health triage would be provided to the school's students. In addition to the team of Amudim case workers, we were able to coordinate additional mental health professionals joining us on site to provide mental health first aid and support in processing the shock and grief with groups of students. As word spread, other schools began calling, urgently in need of professional intervention to help their students who were impacted by the traumatic event. We managed to field every call, sending clinicians wherever necessary, with support groups running late into the night. It was a very long and sad day. It was an incredibly difficult week.
Since Simchat Torah, my therapist has expressed that I need to take better care of myself. My wife and my mother have told me the same. And I am going to do so, I'm going to engage in meaningful self-care. I promised them and I promised myself that I will do so. Just not this week. This week I wasn't able to recharge my batteries by going on a walk with my daughter or playing Monopoly with my boys, or catching a catnap on the couch. This week, I recharged my batteries by looking just beyond the trauma and havoc that seemed to be everywhere. Just beyond all the bad, I was able to clearly see all the good as well:
The absolutely staggering volume of mental health professionals reaching out to volunteer their services, from here in Israel and abroad.
At the airport, assisting with an Amudim emergency evacuation flight, I witnessed crowds of Israelis gathering in song and dance to greet an arriving flight of chayalim returning home to protect Am Yisrael.
The resilient Hatzalah first responders dealing with the ghastly scenes of victims of war and otherwise. The team of social workers and clinicians who came to provide critical care for students in desperate need, from school to school, ensuring that our day did not end until we answered every call.
The Amudim Israel team, who selflessly stretch themselves thin, going above and beyond in every way possible to meet the overwhelming need of every individual who reaches out for help and support.
I would not have made it through this week were it not for the chizzuk that I received from seeing all the good around me. מי כעמך ישראל.
I thank each and every one of them, as well as everyone worldwide who has offered their support. There is no greater strength than when we band together and unite as one, כאיש אחד בלב אחד. When we are united, may it be G-d's will, we will persevere through even the greatest challenges in safety and good health.
Praying for the safety of all of K’lal Yisrael,
עם ישראל חי
Director, Amudim Israel
Each week, Amudim fields calls covering a wide range of crises and addressing various human concerns, including addiction, depression, abuse, health and domestic emergencies and many others. We track the calls and breakdown of issues for many reasons, foremost of which is to consistently improve and strengthen our knowledge and ability to address community’s needs.
In these trying times, it can be exceptionally difficult to maintain emotional balance. It's essential to recognize that all the emotions you may be experiencing are entirely normal, whether it's fear, sadness, anger, or even feelings of terror. As adults, it's crucial for us to proactively seek healthy ways to manage our own anxiety, as much as possible, for our sake, and for the sake of our children. They are relying on us for guidance in navigating the current events as they unfold.
Focusing on our Emunah (faith) and increasing our tefilah (prayer) may help preserve our overall sense of serenity and mental health. Self care and leaning on ones support system can also help us get through this. Never hesitate to seek professional help when needed!
This same consideration extends to our children as well. As parents and educators, it's vital to pay special attention to how our children are coping with these stressful circumstances. If you child shows signs of distress,, and you are concerned for their safety and well-being, it may be a good idea to have them assessed by a mental health professional to gauge them. It's always better to be cautious and initiate a dialogue with a mental health expert.
Additional support and guidance:
You can explore the free Darcheinu session titled "Tragic Current Events - War In Israel." This resource is designed to be adaptable for both the classroom and as a valuable tool for parents. You can access it at: Darcheinu.org/curriculum-resources
Reach out for help:
Phone: 02-374-0175 ext 402
Phone: (From USA) 1-516-636-0175
Free Somatic Breathwork session for Therapists
Breathwork is a practical and remarkable way to help self and open space to contain others.
We will use our breath to release fear, anxiety, and grief and connect to the collective through Tefilah and Emunah.
Registration required- space is limited
Time and Date:
Tuesday, October 24, 2023
8:30 -10:00 PM EST
Virtual / Zoom
Gitty Greenwald, LCSW
Assisted by Myriam Lankry, LCSW
Sign Up: https://amudim.org/breathwork/