A Time to Hope

 

 

Springtime in Israel is filled with holidays, both religious and national. Ramadan, Easter and Passover. Yom Hashoah (Memorial Day for Holocaust victims). Memorial Day for Fallen Soldiers and Terror Victims followed immediately by Yom Ha’atzmaut (Israel Independence Day). All fall within a period of less than four weeks. 

Commingling celebration with sorrow  is a formidable challenge. Many  have pondered the ultimate cognitive dissonance of being torn between the call to rejoice and to mourn. 

Especially now – in the spring of 2024. In our small country, there are no Israelis untouched by loss and the shock of so many newgraves. All of Israel fears for someone… whether their beloved soldier sons and daughters, or their displaced cousins, or their traumatized friends.

So what are our choices? 

Even when prospects are dim, we choose to embrace HOPE.  At the Lemonade Fund we know this as it is no secret in the world of medicine. Science has long known the role hope plays in healing. Research links hope with better physical and mental health. There are indications that hope may predict longevity in people with cancer. In fact, the introduction of hope measurements is being considered in clinical studies to assess the efficacy of new oncological treatments

As Rabbi Russ Shulkes writes on celebrating holidays at a time of national tragedy and mourning, we can turn the ultimate cognitive dissonance into a sustainable cognitive consonance. In other words, hope lies in our ability to hold two truths at once and balance two opposing ideas in our minds and hearts. This may not be easy. It may even be uncomfortable. But hope is a realistic response to the joy and pain or grief present in our lives; and drives us to make them part of our responses and actions.

We have seen that despite the difficulties, the sacrifices, the heavy price and the fear, we are joining together as a people, as a nation and with our families to take action and work toward a better future. 

When a 25% decline in cancer screening exams was reported, civilian “war rooms” sprung into action and provided lifelines to get evacuated families to medical exams. The Beit Oranit Cancer Support Center opened its doors to provide housing for patients’ families The Lemonade Fund special war grants provided immediate aid to allow cancer patients (who may have been evacuated or lost their support systems) to maintain treatments.

This is how we in Israel are enduring the dissonance of spring 2024. With the hope of peace for all of the people in our region and many sunnier, happier and more secure summers ahead. We are a people who choose life and to live is to keep hoping.