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Lisa Ferentz, LCSW-C, DAPA

The Power of Unity: How Helping Others Restores the Human Spirit in War

I write this with a very heavy heart. What is happening in Israel right now is another holocaust. It’s impossible for any human being to process or understand the brutal, senseless massacre of countless innocent lives. When we’re faced with this kind of unimaginable tragedy not only do we experience acute shock, outrage, and grief, but our sense of the world as a fundamentally unsafe place gets rekindled and reinforced.

Evil does exist and it is on full display, in real-time in Israel and documented in the media. The images exacerbate feelings of helplessness, hopelessness, anxiety, and fear. It’s a very difficult balancing act between wanting and needing to know what is happening, getting caught up in the news, and then getting vicariously traumatized by what we witness.

I urge you to stay mindful of creating a manageable balance for yourself. If we become too destabilized or overwhelmed, we will lose the ability to stay present for our families and for our clients. It’s also important to balance the questions that children may have, with their right to maintain some semblance of innocence. If our adult brains cannot comprehend what is happening, a child’s brain certainly cannot either. Here is a link that can help adults talk to their children about the war in Israel.

Right now, we need to come together, in our humanity, regardless of our religious affiliation, to process our thoughts and emotions, and to comfort and support each other and those in need. We need to mitigate the feelings of helplessness by doing something – anything - that gives us back a sense of agency and a modicum of control.  Even though this nightmare is unfolding halfway around the world, any donation that you can make, no matter how small, will allow you to take a stand against terrorism while letting the people of Israel know that they are not alone and not forgotten.

Here are some reputable organizations that will use your donations wisely:

  - The FIDF, (Friends of the Israeli Defense Force) will help give food and supplies to the brave soldiers who are risking their lives to protect the citizens of Israel.

  - Pikesville Jewish Congregation has established the Israel Relief Fund. You can donate here.

  - Meir Panim is another great organization that provides food to Israelis in need.

  - Magen David Adom is Israel’s National Emergency Pre-Hospital Medical and Blood Organization.

  - Hadassah Hospitals provide medical treatment, regardless of religion, race, or nationality.

There are many other organizations and websites that are accepting contributions to help the people of Israel survive and rebuild. Helping out in whatever way you can is the true representation of the human spirit: connecting, supporting, comforting, praying, and reassuring one another - even in the face of abject terror and barbaric actions.

May all the innocent victims who lost their lives and will lose their lives in this ongoing tragedy be honored and remembered through our continued acts of kindness. May their souls rest in peace.

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