To widen our embrace

צילום: מרים אלסטר, פלאש90
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Translation by Yehoshua Siskin

Yesterday, participants in the Nifgashot workshop for pre-teen and teenage girls asked Racheli Frankel if it's more difficult for her to pray on Yom Kippur since her son Naftali was kidnapped and murdered, together with teenagers Ayal and Gilad. Racheli answered: "Since then, I actually feel that I have another advocate up there for me."

Afterwards she said that her family has been the recipient of a special embrace from the public ever since the "shuvu achim" (brothers, return) search for the three kidnappped boys. But she wants to give this same embrace to all those who have experienced such sadness and pain: "Not only terrorist incidents deserve the attention of Israeli society," she said. "What about someone who must deal with disease, any other loss, unemployment, or a mental health crisis? There are so many more people who need this love. It's not 'fair' that we should only know how to offer such an embrace to those killed by terrorists."

When the girls shared their personal hardships and asked how she continues to smile and give of herself after such a crisis, Racheli answered with words that have become her motto in life: "You must tell yourselves: I am not my pain. I feel pain, but it alone does not define who I am. If you are afraid of taking tests, for example, tell yourself: I am not just somebody who is anxious about taking tests. We are complex individuals and contain within our souls not only what causes pain, but things that also give us joy. It's a lack of gratitude when I pour black paint over my entire life and do not see the blessings contained within it."

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