Moshe-Mordechai van Zuiden
Psychology, Medicine, Science, Politics, Oppression, Integrity, Philosophy, Jews -- For those who like their news and truths frank and sharp

How to prevent suicide?

The news that child suicide is growing in Israel only highlights how urgent the spreading is of information to prevent it. But even one case should make us knowledgeable and powerful on this issue.

General approach

A. Tell all children whom you love: Know that a day may come that you or one of your friends has lost all hope and power to live on. A thought of suicide could come in a panic for seeing no way out anymore, or from being drained by big problems. You can help by saying two things:

1. Acknowledge that you believe that s/he/you see no light at the end of the tunnel. I believe you. Do not counter: just cheer up. Ask how it feels. Show empathy. Understand that the person only wants to end their suffering, not their lives. Do not skip saying that you believe that they feel like that that.

2. Say that in half a year you will see things differently. I know that you cannot believe that now, and that is fine. It will get better. Only say these things after you did what is in point 1.

Do not scare or guilt-trip them. They suffer enough without that.

B. Tell a true story. Here is one: When the Nazis invaded the Netherlands, many Jews tried to commit suicide. Some succeeded and some failed. Who can blame them? But listen to what happened to the ones that failed to end their lives.

Some of them were oppressed by the Nazi, went into hiding, were betrayed and transported to Auschwitz and survived even that and returned to the Netherlands. These people, who went through the horrors of horror, did not try to end their lives before, during or after Auschwitz. They fought to live and saw enough purpose to keep doing so despite their pain. Many of them build families and greatly benefited the new generations by teaching them by word and example how valuable and purposeful a life dedicated to goodness can be.

C. Make talking about hopelessness non-taboo. Hopelessness is endemic in Israel. Talk about how the greatest heroes are not those who feel no fear but rather the ones who are terrified and do not give up.

Specific approach

A. Stop dividing mankind into good and bad people. We all have a good and evil inclination and each of us is beloved as we are. While you say that we are good and others are evil, some children will conclude that they must be evil too.

B. Stop maligning and bullying homosexuals and transgenders. Tell everyone that those are the best people, a hope for any population. Honor them before they come out. Allow for and applaud not knowing: questioning, queer, no-label, a-sexual, a-romantic, don’t know.

C. Stop pitying people. Every life is tremendously valuable. If people are isolated, help end their loneliness instead of their lives. Visit, give them access to animals. Every society and individual shows its value(s) in how well they care for the weak and vulnerable.

D. Don’t trust anyone older (stranger or sibling, weird or normal, male or female, nasty or nice, foe or friend) to be secluded with children in your care (not babies, not teenagers) and make sure the latter will tell you if anyone is scary, threatening them or making them suffer.

E. Have friends who fall outside stupid norms and tell your kids about their greatness. Don’t look down on others and don’t denounce others. Tell the stories of the Ugly Duckling and of Cinderella.

About the Author
MM is a prolific and creative writer and thinker, previously a daily blog contributor to the TOI. He often makes his readers laugh, mad, or assume he's nuts—close to perfect blogging. He's proud that his analytical short comments are removed both from left-wing and right-wing news sites. None of his content is generated by the new bore on the block, AI. * As a frontier thinker, he sees things many don't yet. He's half a prophet. Half. Let's not exaggerate. Or not at all because he doesn't claim G^d talks to him. He gives him good ideas—that's all. MM doesn't believe that people observe and think in a vacuum. He, therefore, wanted a broad bio that readers interested can track a bit what (lack of) backgrounds, experiences, and educations contribute to his visions. * This year, he will prioritize getting his unpublished books published rather than just blog posts. Next year, he hopes to focus on activism against human extinction. To find less-recent posts on a subject XXX among his over 2000 archived ones, go to the right-top corner of a Times of Israel page, click on the search icon and search "zuiden, XXX". One can find a second, wilder blog, to which one may subscribe too, here: or by clicking on the globe icon next to his picture on top. * Like most of his readers, he believes in being friendly, respectful, and loyal. However, if you think those are his absolute top priorities, you might end up disappointed. His first loyalty is to the truth. He will try to stay within the limits of democratic and Jewish law, but he won't lie to support opinions or people when don't deserve that. (Yet, we all make honest mistakes, which is just fine and does not justify losing support.) He admits that he sometimes exaggerates to make a point, which could have him come across as nasty, while in actuality, he's quite a lovely person to interact with. He holds - how Dutch - that a strong opinion doesn't imply intolerance of other views. * Sometimes he's misunderstood because his wide and diverse field of vision seldomly fits any specialist's box. But that's exactly what some love about him. He has written a lot about Psychology (including Sexuality and Abuse), Medicine (including physical immortality), Science (including basic statistics), Politics (Israel, the US, and the Netherlands, Activism - more than leftwing or rightwing, he hopes to highlight reality), Oppression and Liberation (intersectionally, for young people, the elderly, non-Whites, women, workers, Jews, LGBTQIA+, foreigners and anyone else who's dehumanized or exploited), Integrity, Philosophy, Jews (Judaism, Zionism, Holocaust and Jewish Liberation), the Climate Crisis, Ecology and Veganism, Affairs from the news, or the Torah Portion of the Week, or new insights that suddenly befell him. * Chronologically, his most influential teachers are his parents, Nico (natan) van Zuiden and Betty (beisye) Nieweg, Wim Kan, Mozart, Harvey Jackins, Marshal Rosenberg, Reb Shlomo Carlebach, and, lehavdil bein chayim lechayim, Rabbi Dr. Natan Lopes Cardozo, Rav Zev Leff, and Rav Meir Lubin. This short list doesn't mean to disrespect others who taught him a lot or a little. One of his rabbis calls him Mr. Innovation [Ish haChidushim]. Yet, his originalities seem to root deeply in traditional Judaism, though they may grow in unexpected directions. In fact, he claims he's modernizing nothing. Rather, mainly basing himself on the basic Hebrew Torah text, he tries to rediscover classical Jewish thought almost lost in thousands of years of stifling Gentile domination and Jewish assimilation. (He pleads for a close reading of the Torah instead of going by rough assumptions of what it would probably mean and before fleeing to Commentaries.) This, in all aspects of life, but prominently in the areas of Free Will, Activism, Homosexuality for men, and Redemption. * He hopes that his words will inspire and inform, and disturb the comfortable and comfort the disturbed. He aims to bring a fresh perspective rather than harp on the obvious and familiar. When he can, he loves to write encyclopedic overviews. He doesn't expect his readers to agree. Rather, original minds should be disputed. In short, his main political positions are among others: anti-Trumpism, for Zionism, Intersectionality, non-violence, anti those who abuse democratic liberties, anti the fake ME peace process, for original-Orthodoxy, pro-Science, pro-Free Will, anti-blaming-the-victim, and for down-to-earth, classical optimism, and happiness. Read his blog on how he attempts to bridge any tensions between those ideas or fields. * He is a fetal survivor of the pharmaceutical industry (, born in 1953 to his parents who were Dutch-Jewish Holocaust survivors who met in the largest concentration camp in the Netherlands, Westerbork. He grew up a humble listener. It took him decades to become a speaker too, and decades more to admit to being a genius. But his humility was his to keep. And so was his honesty. Bullies and con artists almost instantaneously envy and hate him. He hopes to bring new things and not just preach to the choir. * He holds a BA in medicine (University of Amsterdam) – is half a doctor. He practices Re-evaluation Co-counseling since 1977, is not an official teacher anymore, and became a friendly, powerful therapist. He became a social activist, became religious, made Aliyah, and raised three wonderful kids. Previously, for decades, he was known to the Jerusalem Post readers as a frequent letter writer. For a couple of years, he was active in hasbara to the Dutch-speaking public. He wrote an unpublished tome about Jewish Free Will. He's a strict vegan since 2008. He's an Orthodox Jew but not a rabbi. * His writing has been made possible by an allowance for second-generation Holocaust survivors from the Netherlands. It has been his dream since he was 38 to try to make a difference by teaching through writing. He had three times 9-out-of-10 for Dutch at his high school finals but is spending his days communicating in English and Hebrew - how ironic. G-d must have a fine sense of humor. In case you wonder - yes, he is a bit dyslectic. If you're a native English speaker and wonder why you should read from people whose English is only their second language, consider the advantage of having an original peek outside of your cultural bubble. * To send any personal reaction to him, scroll to the top of the blog post and click Contact Me. * His newest books you may find here:
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