Chavi Feldman
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What is resilience?

Another country coming under a massive missile attack would descend into utter chaos, but Israel just keeps on keeping on
One of ten Israeli couples with a member serving in the IDF that took part in a mass wedding ceremony, part of Chabad of Savyon’s “Marrying the Warriors”, in Tel Aviv Port, March 5, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)
One of ten Israeli couples with a member serving in the IDF that took part in a mass wedding ceremony, part of Chabad of Savyon’s “Marrying the Warriors”, in Tel Aviv Port, March 5, 2024. (Chaim Goldberg/Flash90)

Our entire country was awake Saturday night when they should have been asleep. Iran decided to light up our skies with a terrifying barrage of missiles around 2 a.m. Luckily there were no sirens where I live, but from up on our roof, you could see the Iron Dome hard at work, shooting down missile after missile after missile with seemingly no end in sight. Suffice it to say that the entire country is exhausted. Yet, when I woke up in the morning after just a few hours of sleep, I looked out my bedroom window and saw my neighbor power walking. On Facebook were the following posts: “Are buses running normally?”; “I run a ceramic class, can I still teach a class this morning?”; “Were can I find kosher for Passover vanilla?”

It was almost surreal.

I can pretty much guarantee that if any other country had gone through what we had Saturday night, it would have looked like the early Corona days: bombarding supermarkets, stocking up on toilet paper, hunkering down in a state of terror and panic. There would have been utter chaos. And yet, I’m on my way to pay a shiva call (condolence visit) in Ashkelon, then heading to do a huge Passover shopping.

In other words, life as usual.

Missiles all night, shopping for matzah ball mix in the morning.

It sounds ridiculous, hilarious, unbelievable, but this, unfortunately, has become our normal.

And it got me thinking about the meaning of resilience.

I realized it’s not always a grand epic show of superhero strength. No capes needed here. It’s more often than not the small, hardly noteworthy acts of moving forward. One small step in front of the other. And when there’s a step back or a fall — which there are more often than not — it’s getting back up and taking another step forward.

It’s not giving up.

In the last six months, these are the acts — both big and small — of resilience that we have all been witness to:

It’s the families of the hostages that are still fighting with every last breath they have for the return of their loved ones.

It’s Amit Soussana who stood up, and despite the horrific personal and painful details, spoke about her sexual abuse in captivity in front of the entire world with unparalleled strength.

It’s my daughter who got married to her soldier husband while he was on a 20 hour furlough and then kissed him goodbye four hours after their wedding when he returned to fight in Gaza for another month.

It’s every parent of every soldier in this country who gets up every day and does what needs to be done despite the never-ending worry.

It’s every parent of every soldier who lost his life in this war and still manages to find the strength to LIVE.

It’s the morning walkers of my yishuv who understand the mental health a good morning walk gives them.

It’s the soldier whose leg was amputated who kicks around a soccer ball with his new prosthetic leg less than three months after the amputation.

It’s the soldier whose leg was amputated who stands under his chuppah with his beaming bride because losing his leg is not going to stop him from getting married and starting a family with the woman he loves.

It’s the “Flag Guy” on Instagram (look him up!) who walks all over America with 2 huge flags (American and Israeli) and just waves them. He gets spit on, attacked, yelled at, assaulted, but he just continues to stand there and wave them.

It’s Noa Argamani’s mother who, close to the end of her life, performs the mitzvah of hafrashat challah, in the hope that she will be able to see her daughter before she dies.

It’s Hersh Goldberg-Polin’s parents who have taught the entire world who their son is and educated us all in what parental love looks like.

It’s the soldiers and the IDF who are fighting this war with morality and justice.

It’s the farmers who are continuing to plant and pick the vegetables we eat while their farms and orchards are in the line of fire.

It’s ZAKA and MADA and all the nurses, doctors and health care workers who are working 24/7 to care for our sick and wounded, be it physical or mental.

It’s our ability to find humor in a situation that isn’t very funny at all.

And a thousand more examples like these.

Our country is the very definition of what resilience looks like.

About the Author
Chavi Feldman has a degree in graphic design and advertising and works primarily as a music teacher. She has lived in Israel for more than two decades.
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