Brenda Stein Dzaldov

How am I? I am Angry-Sad and Grateful-Proud

How are you?

I don’t want to say I’m triggered, unsafe, traumatized, or any of the words used to imply victimization.  I’m not a victim.   I’m a proud Canadian Jew.

So, how are you?    

I’m not okay. But it’s not just about my 28-year-old lawyer daughter/shooting instructor/soldier who was called up last Saturday to serve again in the IDF.

How are you? 

I’m angry-sad, for a start.

I’m angry-sad that the people of Israel have been victims of terrorist violence by Hamas, Hezbollah and so many other terrorist organizations whose only reason for existing is to kill Jews.

I’m angry-sad that I got complacent for a while.

I’m angry-sad that I don’t have the words to speak to my own daughter.  I’m angry-sad that no one ever taught me what to say or how to feel when my kid is fighting a war against terrorists. There aren’t any books about that.

I’m angry-sad that I’m not sure if it’s okay to laugh at all. About anything.

I’m angry-sad for the families of the kidnapped and murdered Israelis, Jews and those souls who just happened to be in Hamas’ way on October 7th, 2023.

I’m angry-sad that our Jewish children are being lifted from their lives and families to, once again, fight for this sliver of land that is our home.

I’m angry-sad that Hamas is so cruel.

I’m angry-sad that so many around the world won’t stand up for Israel or the Jewish people.

I’m angry-sad that Jewish families in Israel are living through this nightmare, and I am abroad feeling helpless.  Even if I donate money.  Even if I shop and send items of support.  Even if I speak up.  Even if I attend a rally.  I’m angry-sad that I’m always left feeling helpless.

I’m angry-sad that Jews live and work with people who think Hamas are militants who are just protecting innocent Palestinians.  These people are either ignorant, evil, or just plain contemptible, and contemptible people make me angry-sad.

I’m so angry-sad that we must continue fighting, arguing, and begging to be understood.

I’m angry-sad that I must listen to news and look at images on social media that are terrifying and heartbreaking.

I’m angry-sad that many of our most coveted and respected institutions stand with everyone except Israel.

I’m angry-sad that our beautiful country and its beautiful people are being ravaged.

I’m angry-sad about the phrases “it’s complicated”, “both sides” and “let’s give it context”.  Please stop.

So, how are you?

Well, I’m grateful-proud too.

I’m grateful-proud of the local and global Jewish communities, and what we’ve built from the ashes of the Holocaust.

I’m grateful-proud that our incredible cousins in Israel make a home for my daughter when I can’t.

I’m grateful-proud of those who stand with Israel.

I’m grateful-proud of US President Joe Biden for the unequivocal support for Israel.

I’m grateful-proud of our soldiers, who risk their lives for us.  Full stop.

I’m grateful-proud of the families of those soldiers.  Thank you.

I’m grateful-proud of those who lend a shoulder to lean on and answer the phone when I call.

I’m grateful-proud of those who have the ability to ask, “how are you?” and listen to the answer.

How am I?

I’m gutted.

Thanks for asking.

About the Author
Brenda holds a PhD from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education/University of Toronto, where she is an instructor specializing in literacy education, special education and well-being, and educational psychology. She is an educational consultant who has published many books and articles focusing on understanding and improving teacher and student achievement. You can visit her website at Her three children all grew up in Toronto and have taken different paths as they live Jewishly in the world.
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