A Different Song of Hope: Honoring Survivors of Terror

Tags: Inspiration and Hope, Community, People and Society, Terror

By Dr. Zieva Dauber Konvisser

Israel’s national anthem - Hatikvah (The Hope), particularly when sung on Yom Hazikaron (Memorial Day) and Yom Ha’atzmaut (Independence Day), makes me think of all those who I have met and all the stories I have heard during the creation of Living Beyond Terrorism. The song evokes gratitude and appreciation for Israel’s fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism, who gave their lives for the dream of a Jewish homeland.

This Song of Hope is dedicated to the survivors of terrorism and families of the bereaved, who have moved forward with hope and healing and transformed tragedy into triumph.

Food for Thought

I listen to Israel’s national anthem Hatikvah and hear that “for two thousand years. To be a free nation in our land, the land of Zion and Jerusalem” is our hope.

I listen to survivors of terrorism, hear their fears and anxieties. But also, to live and raise their children in Israel, to triumph over terrorists – is their hope.

I listen to the wounded survive, hear their distress and despair. To rebuild the almost unrecognizable pieces of their shattered lives is their wish, their dream, their hope – Hatikvah.

Shoshi’s life was changed forever by a terrorist’s bullet that severed her spine. “Maybe Christopher Reeve’s people will find some cure” is her hope.

Elad, an Ethiopian Israeli, paralyzed in 2002 by a suicide bomber. For him and others confined to wheelchairs, Christopher Reeve brought them hope.

His ankle shattered by terrorists’ bullets, RH’s secret goal to walk down the aisle came through, helped by his hard work, optimism and hope – Hatikvah.

Ronit suffered brain injuries in a bus bombing, she is on lifetime a of anticoagulants. “I am willing to suffer because I want brothers and sisters to my child.” She looks forward with hope. Avi, in his sixties, has the wisdom of age. Surviving a deadly bus bomb, he tries to see in everything the half-full glass. He is optimistic, positive and full of hope.

I listen to the families of the bereaved, hear their grief. I hear them build, grow, make meaning out of suffering, choose life. To make a difference gives them hope.

Sherri and Seth, determined not to let their lives be ruled by hate, establish the Koby Mandell Foundation in order to help other bereaved families keep their hearts open, their spirits alive, and return to life with strength and hope – Hatikvah.

Yafit, murdered by terrorists, miraculously saved her husband and two young daughters.

Arnaud’s life story “is interesting and has everything in it – death, love and hope.”

For Yafit’s mother, Iris, “The pain, of course, is always here. It’s like a hole that cannot close. But, together with pain and hardship, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel” – there is hope – Hatikvah.

In the Talmud, Rabbi Yohanan teaches that “as long as there is life, there is hope.” As long as we believe that the State of Israel is a homeland for the Jewish people, there is The Hope. Hatikvah.

Food for Thought

The idea that “as long as there is life, there is hope” has sustained the Jewish People throughout unspeakable difficulties = exile, oppression, Inquisition, pogroms, Holocaust, wars, and terrorism.

  • What other ideas have upheld the Jewish People during difficult times?
  • What would give you hope, even after something terrible happens such as losing your loved ones?
  • How did Jews in the concentration camps sustain hope?
  • How do Jews in Israel remain optimistic while living under existential threat?

About the Author

Dr. Zieva Dauber Konvisser
Zieva Dauber Konvisser, PhD, is a Fellow of the Institute for Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University and an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice at Wayne State University. Her research focuses on the human impact of traumatic events, such as terrorism, genocide, war, and wrongful conviction. She served on the National Commission on American Jewish Women and is currently on the international board of METIV: The Israel Psychotrauma Center, the advisory board of Strength to Strength, and the board of Proving Innocence. She is the author of "Living Beyond Terrorism: Israeli Stories of Hope and Healing" (Gefen, 2014). The book can be ordered HERE.

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Tags: Inspiration and Hope, Community, People and Society, Terror