I have always wondered at the decision to make Yom HaZikaron (Memorial Day) the day preceding Yom Haatzmaut (Independence Day). It just seems like the timing is off. How does one possibly go from mourning to celebrations within a 24 hour period? How is it even possible? Wouldn’t it be better to rather have two different dates with two entirely different agendas? We in Israel, slide straight from our painful mourning of the dead to our exuberance for an independent land for the Jewish Nation.
Over the years, as I have worked with thousands of victims of abuse and violence, I have seen the wisdom in the connection between the two dates. Often, as I cry and accompany the victim of rape or domestic violence, through her pain and agony, I encounter another phenomenon. After it is all over, after she has worked through much of the pain there is remains the fear and hesitation to let the state of “victimization” go. What will I be without being a “victim”? If I actually move on and enjoy life, it would be as if the abuse never occurred; as if it was not horrendous or horrible. This resistance to moving on from “victimhood” to “survivorhood” is powerful and often chains the victim to the past.
I pray that she can see the wisdom of bridging the two holidays of Yom HaZikaron and Yom HaAtzmaut. The understanding that I can mourn and scream and cry out – and then with the help of others – I can move on to a new and free life of independence and hope.
This has always been our goal and vision for Tahel. To provide a safe place; a warm shoulder; an understanding heart; a listening ear; to enable the victim to come forward and tell her story. We at Tahel then, accompany her throughout her journey to recovery. We hold her hand as she takes that final agonizing step from Victimhood to Survivorhood – From Remembering to Moving forward and Living with joy.
Debbie Gross is the founder and director of Tahel – Crisis Center for Religious Women and Children.