Karen Zivan

Shema Yisroel


I’m a Psychologist, and one of the basic skills I try to practice is my listening skills.  The results of my best work is when I am actively attending, listening with all my openness, hearing the person in front of me. However, when I’m more concerned about being the Psychologist and asking questions, rather than the responsibility of the role I take on, I will, unfortunately, find myself busier asking questions or thinking of questions to ask.

And so, when I heard the phone call from Gilad Shaar to the police, it took me several times before I heard what was really happening,  hints which were not  hidden  to the untrained ear—  the gun shots, the Arab voices.  The first few times I watched the tv, I only heard…hello? ….hello?…hello?  from the attendant answering the SOS call.  She repeated the question over and over and over and so, I too, got swept away with her question to find  information. Later on, I realized if they would have listened they would have heard the very clear sounds and signs of danger, no questions needed to be asked, the answer was there.

In the past three weeks there has been an intensity I have never experienced as a mother, as an Israeli and as a Jew.  Amazing beautiful signs of hope and love, the need to be together, and also sadness, blood, terror and fear.  A perfect storm, for confusion, unclarity; abundant reasons to choose to escape from wanting to know and avoid being in this moment.

Thankfully, as so many, I too have embraced this entire situation as a personal mission of determination to insure for myself and for the world that these boys did not die in vain. From hearing of the hobbies of the boys, to taking on a daily ritual to create for myself emotional pain  in order to share, however impossible that is,  in the experience the parents have , to helping to create opportunities in our community to bond and become stronger; I am driven to do something.  Yet, I continue walk around heavy with confusion, feeling overwhelmed, and very tired of not understanding.

This morning I realized I had a personal role model, and I was sitting by her side,  Racheli Frankel, the mother of Naftali.   During  the early morning prayer service, before ending her shiva and going to the cemetery to see her son’s grave, while she listened tearfully to the Torah reading of Naftali’s Bar Mitzvah parsha, she modeled for me the direction to the  path to heal.  Racheli Frankel, in all her pain and sadness, tiredness and frustration was not asking questions she was listening to the words of prayer.


About the Author
Karen Zivan is a mother of five boys. She is a practicing AEDP and School Psychologist who practices therapy with teens, adults, and parents. Karen is a Yoga Teacher who enjoys traveling around the world to donate yoga. In Israel she donates yoga to soldiers and to her community in Hashmonaim.