I’ve been living in Israel for over 30 years.
Life in this diverse society and agitated neighborhood of hostile countries has taught me many things. Or should I attribute it to Jewish wisdom? -Grown over decades and centuries of struggling for survival and against hatred while holding on to the fundamental belief that every human life is holy.
Among everything I’ve learned, this may be the most important: Humor!
Keep laughing, no matter what! Find the irony in everything and know that everything is temporary.
Humor is like a remedy, and in times of intense fear, it’s hard to swallow. It took me many years to understand the value of it. How can you joke about anything when suicide bombers blow up busses every day? (Remember those? They were our daily routine for months, now they are forgotten.)
What could be funny about the UN singling out Israel and adopting resolution after resolution while turning a blind eye to the atrocities committed in Yemen, China, Syria, to name just a few?
But the truth is, what can you do? Cry? Scream?
None of that would make the situation better; on the contrary.
Humor is the Israelis‘ way of dealing with whatever is thrown at us, whether it’s rockets, condemnation, anti-Semitism, or threats. For someone like me who wasn’t born here, it felt disrespectful, as if people weren’t taking the situation seriously or weren’t aware of the gravity of the situation.
I was wrong.
Laughter helps us get through.
When you cannot allow yourself to fall apart because you need to keep functioning, find the irony! When your kids are trembling and can’t sleep because they were ripped out of their dreams by rocket sirens too many times and you feel like sobbing yourself, how do you stay strong for them? Find something to laugh about.
And when you need to keep a cool head in your zoom meetings the next morning, even though every tiny noise makes you jump, the only way to cope is to laugh at yourself.
*In the title image to the right: Hamas rockets attacking – to the left: Israel’s Iron Dome defending