Shayndel Plotkin
Executive Director, Liumi, Inc.

Vignettes of War #1

I wandered through the streets of Jerusalem allowing my footsteps to carve out a new beginning for myself, all on the cobblestone streets always enamored with the rich history and past of our people. I wandered with my dear friend as he shared what he has been going through since the war. He spoke of rediscovering who he is and the possibility that who he was no longer exists. The war has so many effects long after the horror of the unthinkable to the ongoing trauma of the things we think.

We arrived at a cafe on Ben Yehuda, one of my favorites, and ordered an Israeli platter and wandered through shared memories and new insights, each of us expressing big and little experiences we had well before October 7th and then after.

Although he has been a friend for 30 years there were many new things I learned about him. He was unfolding them throughout the conversation and I was listening intently. As he was a teacher of mine so long ago, I was once again ready to learn.

War comes in many ways; At first it was the frozen shockwaves of news that scattered through his quaint religious neighborhood not far from Jerusalem. Then it was his son who was called up to the reserves to enter Gaza and not return home for three months. Then it landed on his personal fears and frailty of faith that came in waves sometimes loudly and sometimes in his deepest sleep. War comes through violence as we know. It also comes through silence as we try our best to close our ears from listening and it ultimately can come through the personal changes in ourselves that we never knew we were capable of.

The fears of the past (before October 7) pale in comparison to the fortitude and faith we must muster as we move forward in our immediate daily lives and in our eternal national existence. So my friend is breaking through his fears and reclaiming his life. A new life. He is rebuilding himself filled with his most fearless and open self. War affects each of us. That is how he is moving through the war. His war. This is where his footsteps are leading him.

Where are my footsteps leading me? I wonder…

About the Author
Co-Founder and Executive Director of Liumi West Retreat. As a teacher, writer, and facilitator of Jewish educational seminars and curriculum, Shayndel Plotkin is passionate about working with women, children, and families to help them grow and develop – spiritually and personally. Her background in the Jewish community, Jewish education, and Israel advocacy began in the South Florida community more than twenty years ago as a writer for the Jewish press, and then as the Israel Experience Director for the Commission for Jewish Education. She has recently been certified as a female farmer in the state of Florida. Shayndel is a writer of novels, children's stories, a professional memoirist, and writer for several international magazines. She holds a Master of Arts in Jewish Education from the Pardes Institute and Hebrew College, and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Communications from Florida State University. Shayndel is a graduate of Midreshet Rachel Seminary in Jerusalem, where she studied Jewish texts and philosophy for three years. Shayndel is married to Rabbi Baruch Plotkin and together they have seven children.
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