Orna Raz

Day 148 Of The War: How To Fight Despair

My photo of the reading  rooms from the  ground floor of the new National Library. Please note the view to the garden in the floor below
My photo of the reading rooms from the ground floor of the new National Library. Please note the view to the garden in the floor below

Two days ago, as I was preparing for training outdoors , I instinctively took out my headphones, ready to listen to a political podcast  while exercising.  However, all of a sudden I felt a sudden wave of panic, it was as if my body was telling me something,  protesting against the constant depressing news. I decided to heed this unfamiliar feeling and chose instead to listen to an audiobook. Currently, I am  in the middle of John Irving’s 1989 novel, A Prayer For Owen Meany,  a remarkable and powerful book that, in many ways, resonates with the reality that we are dealing with here in Israel, including the war in Israel and the government’s disconnect from the people.

Given that the novel unfolds in two interwoven time frames—the present in 1987  and the past—Irving skillfully provides insights into the lost generation of the Vietnam War. Twenty years later, the narrator resides in Canada and sheds light on the Reagan administration’s continued perilous conduct and its illicit dealings around the world.

I believe that taking a break from the news and the prevailing despair has allowed me to enjoy the rest of my day. We drove to Jerusalem to take part in a tour of the new National Library. Personally I was sad to bid  farewell to the old library in Giv’at Ram, and although I read about this fabulous new library,  didn’t pay too much attention. So nothing prepared me for the fantastic and thoughtful space that had emerged in Israel amidst all the chaos. It felt as if I had entered a magical, orderly world, bathed in light and completely detached from the harsh realities of our life in Israel.

To be honest, over the past year, with the election of an extreme government, the judicial overhaul, and the assault on cultural treasures that many of us hold dear, I had lost faith that anything positive could happen here. Being in the National Library briefly restored my belief in the future of our country

The past year has made it nearly impossible to focus on anything other than the current state of affairs. While it might seem like a luxury, I now believe that, in order to sustain a high level of engagement and remain active in the effort to release the hostages and replace this corrupt extremist government, we all need to take short breaks. These breaks serve as a means for each individual to remember who they are and to reevaluate their role in securing the future of our country. Tonight, once again, I will be demonstrating in Kaplan

About the Author
I hold a PhD in English Literature from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, specializing in writing about issues related to women, literature, culture, and society. Having lived in the US for 15 years (between 1979-1994), I bring a diverse perspective to my work. As a widow, in March 2016, I initiated a support and growth-oriented Facebook group for widows named "Widows Move On." The group has now grown to over 2000 members, providing a valuable space for mutual support and understanding.
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