This week we are privileged to share in the personal experiences of one of my long time friends, Joseph Hochstein. I asked Joe to contribute some insights into a few events that he encountered in his lifetime and to share how they really affected him. So below is just a glimpse of what his thoughts were after surviving some of these challenges and if you wish to read more be sure to click on the words underlined in blue. Joe is a writer, researcher and editor in Tel Aviv.
1) After losing a beloved son (From a talk at a memorial ceremony for fallen soldiers, June 1986. My son Marc S. Hochstein was killed in a Hezbollah ambush in 1985.):
Some day, each of us will die. About dying, as about being born, none of us has a choice. What we can choose is how we use our time, and to what purpose we commit our lives….
It may seem out of place to speak about the survivors, when we are here to remember the dead. But this is proper. The dead can no longer speak for themselves. It is up to us, who continue to receive the gift of life, to carry forward in their memories and in their names with the finest visions they had.
2) After surviving a suicide bombing (from a FAQ written after I was injured in a bombing at Dizengoff Center in Tel Aviv, 1996):
Q – Did any good come out of this?
A – On a personal level: I was privileged to encounter the helpful, caring side of many total strangers, particularly in the first minutes and hours after the explosion. These glimpses of consideration and compassion in a moment of difficulty have already become memories which enrich my life. I have also heard some remarkable, affirmative words in the support groups of bombing victims, and these too will stay with me. Needless to say: being alive is even more delicious an experience….
Q – What do people say in the victims’ support groups?
A – The meetings are confidential. Some people speak with great frankness about their personal lives. Mainly, the discussions boil down to the big Jewish principle: Choose life. (Excerpts of this FAQ appeared in Harper’s magazine in 1996.)
In such support groups, and also in meetings of bereaved parents, you meet people who are finding strength within themselves to cope and go forward.
© Joseph M. Hochstein, Tel Aviv