Ellie Rothstein

Israeli Society Needs New Language to Support Resilience and Emotional Wellbeing

Since its establishment in 1948, Israel has faced an extraordinary share of trauma. Our history is marked by no less than seven wars, two intifadas, and countless defense operations. Each conflict has left an indelible mark on our society, exacting a heavy toll in exchange for our continued existence in our homeland. The resilience of the Israeli people in the face of these adversities is a testament to our collective strength and determination.

However, the events of October 7th, 2023, stand out in their impact. This massacre shook the nation to its core, unprecedented in both its scope and the devastating physical and emotional wreckage it left behind. This time, the entire country finds itself in various states of trauma and shock, a shared experience that transcends individual differences. This widespread trauma calls for a new approach, one that not only acknowledges the challenges we face but also integrates resilience and emotional health into all aspects of our society.

Integrating Emotional Health in the Workplace

Productivity is often the primary focus in professional settings, but this lens can sometimes obscure the personal challenges faced by employees. Imagine a scenario on a factory floor: an employee’s output suddenly declines. The typical response might involve disciplinary measures for not meeting the set quota. However, this approach overlooks potential underlying issues.

The employee could be dealing with a sick child, grappling with the loss of a loved one, or struggling with post-traumatic stress. Instead of questioning their decreased productivity, a more empathetic approach involves asking, “What support do you need to help you meet your quota?” This shift in language from reprimand to support acknowledges the individual’s challenges and seeks to address them.

Offering support might include flexible work arrangements, access to counseling, or an understanding supervisor. Kav L’Noar’s model highlights the importance of such support systems, showing that when employees’ emotional needs are met, their productivity and engagement often improve significantly.

Supporting Emotional Well-Being in Education

Similarly, in educational settings, a student’s academic struggles often have deeper roots. A child failing a test might be facing unseen challenges – family issues, emotional distress, or other personal obstacles. Rather than focusing on the failure, educators and parents can help by exploring what might be hindering the student’s learning process.

This approach involves creating a safe space for students to express their difficulties and providing appropriate support. It might include one-on-one counseling, tailored teaching methods, or mentorship programs. By addressing these underlying issues, we can foster a more conducive learning environment that prioritizes emotional well-being alongside academic achievement.

The Role of Relationships and Community

At the core of Kav L’Noar’s philosophy is the belief that all experiences take place within the context of relationships – with family, friends, schools, and the broader community. This understanding is crucial in both work and school environments. Building a culture of compassion and support involves recognizing the impact of these relationships on an individual’s emotional health.

In the workplace, it means creating a community where employees feel heard and supported. In schools, it involves nurturing an environment where students are encouraged to speak up and seek help. Integrating activities that promote resilience and emotional health within these settings as part of each institution’s mainstream processes is the key to creating lasting change and fostering emotionally robust human beings, despite hardship and trauma.

Understanding that emotional and mental well-being is fundamental to productivity and learning, we can come together across various roles – as teachers, employers, caregivers, and mental health professionals – to shape a society rooted in empathy and comprehension. This collaborative approach is crucial in embedding a culture of emotional resilience in our daily practices and interactions.

As we continue to advocate for and implement these changes, our impact extends beyond improving individual lives. We are fundamentally strengthening our communities, reinforcing collective resilience. This shift goes beyond mere policy changes, extending to nurturing a society where every person’s emotional health is a shared priority. This, so as to create a stronger, more supportive Israel for all.

Learn more about Kav L’Noar’s unique approach: 

About the Author
Ellie began his career mentoring in gap-year programs, identifying a critical need for emotional health education. After extensive social work and psychotherapy training, he founded Shlavim in 2013, connecting educational institutions with essential mental health services. Joining Kav L'Noar in 2018, and eventually taking the helm, Ellie has spearheaded its expansion from Jerusalem to five cities, increasing its outreach to over 10,000 individuals annually. Celebrated as an innovative, responsible leader and sought-after scholar, Ellie's work in non-profit management and emotional health has significantly improved access to mental health services, especially for immigrant communities.