Talya Woolf

Keeping busy

October 26, 2023

Headline on Times of Israel: Heavy rocket fire targets central Israel; limited IDF ground raids in Gaza to continue

One of the best things to do in a war is work.

Dive into it, swim in it, if only to forget about the evil that floats around you 24/7. Do remember to breathe and drink coffee (and wine), check on your friends, hug your kids, and shower. Perhaps in that order, though I do think that this is the most seldom I have ever showered. It’s almost impossible right now to do self-care.

So yes, work. Whether it’s from home (because you’re nervous about driving to the office), taking care of your kids full time (regardless of whether your spouse is serving), or just working on your mental health – work.

I chose all of the above.

I was a little (read: a lot) lost the first week. Stunned, really. I even took out the shock and hurt on my kids. Then we sat down as a family and had a real (age-appropriate) talk about the situation and it improved from there. Now there are times I put down my phone and read books to my kids. Books and books and books. And then the same book three times in a row.

I never used to do that.

Credit to Lubos Houska (pixabay)

I play more video games with the crazies. Tickle them and hug them endlessly. Listen to them more thoroughly. Ask them more questions. Choose them over almost anything.

It took a war to make me a better mom. Perhaps a better wife.

My compartmentalization broke a few times after the first week, but this third week was almost okay (only one ‘bad’ day). I’m not quite sure what that says about my psychological state, but it is what it is.

I recognize that I need mental help – we all do at this point. I look at pictures of kidnapped children and ‘see’ my kid in them. I practice a song with my voice coach, and I think of the stolen kids. I hear a motorcycle revving its engine and think of rockets. I hear distant booms and wonder what just got hit. I no longer let my kids walk home from school alone.

I think of the ground invasion and wonder whose family will be forever shattered amongst my friends, my community.

There is no time I do not think of some aspect of the war.

During quieter and more peaceful times, I organize cyber conferences around the globe, but my wartime job is slightly different. Being the only native English speaker, I am joyously responsible for translating some of the news articles we write on the war (and now, writing some). It allows me to have additional information on hand, utilize my English, but most importantly, feel useful.

In my “free” time, my (now) friends and I have volunteered our time in organizing a special international musical fundraiser. Jews have decided we will no longer be silent in the face of hate and antisemitism, so we decided to call it Hear Our Voices – Resilience Under Fire. We’ve worked tirelessly on it for almost three weeks, and – to be honest – since we started the endeavor, I have been able to breathe again. To think again. To function again.

Perhaps not at a pre-war level, but it is what it is.


I invite you to visit the website for our musical event. I invite you to join in solidarity against hate of Jews this Sunday and every other day.

Now I sleep.
Tomorrow I go back to work.

About the Author
Talya Woolf is an eight-year Olah with four spirited children and a fantastic husband. She is a writer, American-licensed attorney, handgun instructor, amateur photographer, and artist. She is politically confusing, Modern Orthodox (though she doesn't dress the part), and ardent Zionist (ZFB). She enjoys spending time with family, friends, running, photography, and reading about highly contagious diseases and WWII.
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