My dear children,

This is a very important week – historically, nationally and emotionally.

We commemorate Yom Hashoah, Holocaust Remembrance. And we never forget.

We honor and salute our fallen heroes, courageous soldiers of Israel who gave their lives for our homeland, protection and safety.

We celebrate and glorify our State – Israel, the most fascinating, holy, precious, exciting, challenging and innovative place in the universe.

I have a few thoughts I want to share with you during this time.

Firstly, you are blessed.

To be born in the State of Israel is a privilege – one denied to so many before you and so many today. You come from an incredible lineage of courage. Truthfully, I don’t even understand it all myself, but I know we are here today because of the heroic choices of many brave people and the hand of Hashem. In the harshest of circumstances and the most horrific of conditions, your ancestors survived unfathomable persecution. You being born here in Israel today is nothing short of miraculous. Never Forget.

The Ochberg Memorial in Israel.

The Ochberg Memorial in Israel.

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Your great grandfather z’l.

Faith is something I have always tried to nurture within each of you. I don’t believe it is necessarily a skill you can learn or acquire. It is a value you must choose to cherish. It is a value you must choose to live by. With faith, the impossible is possible and the darkest times hold a glimmer of hope. Trust that there is a bigger plan and that you are here for a very significant purpose. Trust in Hashem. Trust in yourselves. Trust that things happen for a reason, even if we can’t always understand it.

You embody faith

You embody faith

And much of the time, I’m afraid we won’t always get all the answers we seek to life’s most pressing questions and the answers we do get, wont suffice. But, never give up. There is so much in our history and in our present that is frightening and unpredictable. And there is so much in our history and our present that is phenomenal. Faith is the one thing we can choose to recruit in very uncertain times. And hopefully someday, it will all make some sense to us. I can’t give you all the answers to your very difficult questions because I am struggling with them too. And sometimes people do very bad things and we can’t understand why. But we don’t need to be quiet. I wish you the continued strength to stand up whenever you need to. Like those who came before you.

Feiga’s Choice is the first-ever documentary about the pre-Holocaust Jewish massacres in Eastern Europe. Told through the rare, first-hand account of survivor Feiga Shamis, a Jewish mother of 12, driven by events to put two of her children in an orphanage. “Feiga’s Choice” is a window into this forgotten history and the daring rescue mission that saved those two children – one being your great grandfather.

Today, when I consider the remarkable achievements and accomplishments of our tiny nation and country, I believe we are mighty because we have G-d and because we live by our values and we know our truth.

Purity - Know your truth.

Purity – Know your truth.

Please take the time to find out what your individual passions are. What excites you? What energizes you? What makes your heart skip a beat? Where does your mind go when it wonders… There are so many things that catch our eyes during this lifetime, but only a few that catch our hearts – pursue those with all you have. Chase your dreams, grab them with both hands, and use them to do so much good. Make a contribution wherever you are to a greater good. Commit to leaving a legacy.

Above all else, make note that it is more important to be kind than to be right. Be a good person. See goodness in others and be open to learning from every person you encounter. The young and old have so much to teach us. Spend time with all people. Listen to them. Look people in the eyes and smile with them. People will never forget how you make them feel and your willingness to hear them and truly see them is invaluable. We have so much to try internalize from each of our survivors and so much to respect and commemorate from each of our fallen heroes. The old, the young alike living and dying for ideals and values that we now live by. Know where you come from, question, fight, stand up and be proud. But above all, be kind. Commit to becoming the kindest people you know. Loving kindness is the only way we can create a future that is brighter than our past or present. I often wonder whether things could have been so different if people were kinder. And then at the same time, I am reminded of the countless stories of unbelievable kindness that saved thousands of people against all odds, including our family.

See miracles. You, your nation and your home are. Appreciate beauty in all its forms and don’t let routine or the mundane of everyday life and business blur the magnificence of the world you are so very lucky to live in. There is so much to enjoy and relish if you take the time to pause, be present and mindful. Gratitude is a universal principle I hold very close to my heart. I am so thankful for all my blessings. I hope you know how grateful I am that you are in my life and that I am honored to be your mom.

Learning about our family history, enduring a world of deep suffering and pain, experiencing war and hatred of many kinds, makes me realize that gratitude and appreciation will all be magic words and that one cannot create, thrive or grow when motivated by anything but love.

Life is full of so many highs and lows, peaks and valleys, ups and downs. But everything is an opportunity to learn, change and grow if used correctly. If our lives were straightforward and simple, we would flat-line. Wear your sensitivities, cry, share what pulls your heartstrings. Empathy is a wonderful attribute. Those who had it, saved many lives. Those who have it, are still saving many lives today. And those who foster it, will save many lives tomorrow.

Another message I wish to share with you my dear children is that the right way is not always the easy way. I see this in my own life and with the many clients I am fortunate enough to work with. Go down the path that is true to yourself. It might not be the smoothest or the safest but it will certainly be the most worthwhile avenue. This is by no means simple. Doing what you want, moving towards goals and doing what’s right, takes inordinate effort and complete devotion and dedication. You have to want something so badly that you will be willing to do what it takes to get there. And it will be tough. But it will be so worth it.

Treasure all your relationships. Family and friendships alike are crucial to happiness and joy is truly magnified when shared as is pain reduced when shared. Open your hearts to those around you and invest in the people whose lives contribute to yours and to whose lives your contribution matters most. We are not meant to be alone. Community is such a beautiful thing. Get involved. Be a part of something bigger than yourselves.

Do something that scares you. Try something new. Take a risk. Yes it feels horrible and scary and uncomfortable. But staying where you are is not where the magic happens. Staying bored, stuck, trapped or uninspired in anything in your life will lead you down a path of inevitable regret. Time is too precious to not explore and unwrap the incredible gifts you have each been given. I see them already in so many of the things you do. Keep unwrapping and sharing them with the world. You each have so much to offer and we live in a day and age where we can create opportunities we don’t yet have. Don’t waste one minute. Make everyday matter.

Needless to say, there is much cruelty, pain and suffering in the world. I wish it weren’t so. I wish you lived in a place of peace. I wish I didn’t have to fear what could happen. I wish I didn’t have to defend who we are and why we are here to so many around the world who don’t see our value or the miracle of our home. However, there is tremendous sadness and agony around each corner. Do your part. Help whenever and wherever you can. There is nothing like a life of service and generosity and if you can make a difference, make one. We can only take loving kindness with us when we leave this world. That’s what a meaningful life is all about.

My beautiful children, be proud of yourselves. I am so very proud of you. Celebrate your wins no matter how seemingly big or small they are. You have strengths, gifts and talents that are uniquely yours. Let the world around you benefit from this and use them wisely, fully and well. You can all make a difference.

As hard as it may be, try not to compare yourself to others. Develop your own definition of success and set your own goals. Your happiness depends on your attitude and your choices. In a world where we have such little control, the one thing we are in charge of is our attitude and our choices about what we can do with what happens to us. We never know what other people are experiencing and what we see is only our perception. We always see the world the way we are, not the way it is. Your greatest power will always be the ability you have to change your mind. From where you stand on your mountaintop, the world is one way. Your neighbor or friend stands on a different mountaintop and their view is unlike yours. Be gentle when judging. We all see the world from a different standpoint.

With all your might, challenge your limiting beliefs and maintain a positive outlook at all costs. Hope and optimism are superpowers that no one can take from you. Safeguard these treasures. Wear your beautiful smiles daily and try your best to find meaning, lessons and feedback in everything you go through – even the hard stuff. Especially the hard stuff. Then use what you have taken and help another person get through their hard stuff. We’re all ultimately in this together.

With so much hurt, historically, nationally and personally – it’s almost impossible to move past the pain. Having said that, I wish for you to say sorry and forgive often. Sometimes you will have to accept an apology you were never given and it takes a very strong person to do that. Forgiveness allows you to move on. Forgiveness clears the way for something new. Forgiveness is a gift. Give it and receive it as many times as you see fit. Your life will be much better for it.

And finally, look after each other. Take care of one another and look out for one another. Let your lives always intertwine. Nothing is more important than love.

My precious blessings. Life is beautiful.

My precious blessings. Life is beautiful.

Embrace the unconditional love you have. Forever.

My wish is that in your lifetime, we will all experience a world of peace. Of no hatred, no brutal death and no suffering.

My wish is that by the time you get to serve our country, there will be no need. But if there is, you will do so with pride, compassion and integrity.

Israeli Champ

Israeli Champ

It seems so far away but we must never lose faith. We must never lose hope.

We must learn from our past. We must cherish our present and while we do what we can to create a safer, nicer, and hopefully better future, we must love, we must remember and we must pray.

I love you always,

Mom xxx