In light of the ongoing situation in Israel and its traumatic impact on our brothers and sisters in Jewish communities across the world, Chai Lifeline Crisis Services presents the following tools and resources.
The stunned sadness that is circulating throughout the Jewish world right now has left us with an aching wound. The images, the statistics, and the timing of the attacks on our loved ones, our brothers and our sisters in Israel, are painful to envision and are very frightening. As the rest of the world looks on from a safe distance and forms its opinions, the Jewish people are, collectively, right there in the Holy Land in our hearts, our minds, and in our souls. A discerning adult will pause, look inward, connect with their thoughts, their emotions, their visceral reactions, and their spiritual strife.
We adults must also formulate a discerning and sensitive response to our young ones, our children, and our students.
Please consider and utilize the following tools and pointers in addressing children, because it is most important to speak with them, to model for them your best wholesome responses, and to guide them through their own reactions.
1. Be self-aware. It is normal to react to tragedy and it is not particularly normal to have no reaction. Notice your own thoughts, feelings, and internal activity. It is common to feel scared, sad, confused, stuck, angered, worried. There are very few reactions that are “abnormal” during abnormal times like this. Share your reactions with your spouse, a close friend, or a trusted peer. Talking things through helps ground and center us so that we can then attend responsibly to children.
2. Speak with your children, but listen more than you talk. Their reactions are real and are likely age-appropriate, so do not try to talk them out of what they express, nor give them glib assurance that there is nothing to worry about. Validate, assuring them that their fear, sadness, or worry is directly related to the scary and horrible news that they are hearing. Normalize their reactions for them.
3. Soothe your child. Console them gently that you are their supportive, caring adult and will guide them through this. Do not unload onto your child your own fears and worries. Focus on them and their reactions. Avoid making promises that you cannot guarantee. Agree to keep them informed as you learn more, and prompt them to share with you whatever they hear. The classroom and playground are often arenas for distortions and inaccuracies so remain their primary source of accurate updates.
4. Research has demonstrated that flooding the mind with images and visual media portraying tragic scenes is very unhelpful, and even disruptive to mood, attention span, and even interpersonal sensitivity. Discourage a child from gluing themselves to media which will flood them with images that may be difficult to forget or erase.
5. For the Jewish people, our role on the remote “battlefields” is our prayer. Teach your child this, model this, speak with them about how we pray and what we focus on as we turn to our faith to save, to protect, to heal. Prayer is an essential tool for grounding the soul as well as the mind and emotions.
6. Love and appreciate your children and your family, especially at a time of tragedy. When the world does not feel safe and secure, your home – and your classroom too – can provide structure, encouragement, and increased feelings of well-being. Make use of your finest skills as a caring, compassionate adult.
May our efforts to be supportive of one another at this time augment our fervent prayers that Benei Yisroel will soon be safe.
We are thinking about children and families around the world who are personally affected by the ongoing events in Israel.
Chai Lifeline has established a dedicated 24-hour Crisis Line for Israel’s Anglo community, English-speaking students attending yeshivas and seminaries, and their families.
Our Executive Director, Rabbi Mordechai Rothman, shared this with our team, and we extend his message to the community:
“The only way to fight the darkness is to light a candle. Every bit of support and inspiration that we do here with our families brings a bit of that light and positivity to the world and you never know how far that can go.”
Chai Lifeline is also offering its renowned support system to Israel’s Anglo community, ensuring that no one feels alone or unheard. Our 24-hour confidential crisis support is now open to all members of Israel’s English-speaking community, English-speaking students attending yeshivas and seminaries, as well as English-speaking parents of students in Israel in need of support.
Please call 732-377-5135 (USA) or 03-978-6304 (ISRAEL) or email [email protected].
Chai Lifeline is a global organization and our sister chapter in Israel, Chaiyanu, is urgently raising funds to support their clients, families, and children whose lives have been impacted and treatment interrupted due to the ongoing crisis.
What Chaiyanu is doing:
* helping Chaiyanu families relocate from the south of Israel to hospitals in safer areas so they can continue receiving care and treatment
* supporting families who have had one parent enlisted to serve
* coordinating efforts to deliver care packages to hospitals
* providing volunteers and setting up daycares in hospitals to care for the children of hospital staff who are working around the clock
If you would like to support these much needed efforts, we hope you will join us in solidarity with our Israeli Chai Lifeline families by giving generously to this cause. These donations will directly support Chaiyanu in meeting the critical needs of their clients.
300A Wilson Ave.
Toronto, Ontario, M3H 1S8
4900 Jean Talon Ouest, #220 Montreal, Quebec H4P 1W9
At Chai Lifeline Canada we are passionately devoted to alleviating the burden of those facing medical challenge. From the moment of diagnosis, through the arduous months and years, in good times and bad, Canadian families have discovered that Chai Lifeline Canada is a friend for life.
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300A Wilson Ave. Toronto, Ontario, M3H 1S8
4900 Jean Talon Ouest, #220 Montreal, Quebec H4P 1W9
Email: [email protected]
Phone: 1 (800) 556-6238