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What do you do with the endless pain?

Could we have ever imagined such endless pain? Since Simchat Torah and the terrible Shabbat of October 7, amidst this unfathomable pain, we have witnessed remarkable displays of mental fortitude; panic and fear have been transformed into purposeful action, unveiling the extraordinary spirit of civil society in Israel.

The horrific massacres and taking of hostages, and the war that followed, forced us to grapple with new and profound ethical questions pertaining to the limitations of power; the prices that both we and our enemies are paying in this war; the dilemma of bringing the hostages home versus defeating the enemy; and the psychological consequences of uncontrolled exposure to the horrors.

Add to this mix the internal divide, which leaves us to wallow in our old disputes, and, because of the acute issues we are dealing with, prompts us to perceive anyone who does not think like us as evil.

The Jewish people in Israel and in the Diaspora need healing, good news, new ideas and thoughts, and untainted and responsible political leaders who will make personal and collective revival possible.

During the war, Nivcharot did its best to try and heal the rupture. The Harediot Shutafot (Haredi Women are Partners) project, in which we called on Haredi women to volunteer in IDF bases, was our way of saying “I will be with him in trouble (Psalm 91:15). This project developed into further initiatives, for example, support of wives of Haredi soldiers. We would like to thank Shaharit's  Alut Hashahar initiative for their support of this project.

Alongside this these special programs, we have continued with our regular activities. In the recent municipal elections, we saw the fruits of our great investment in the cultivation of female Haredi leaders. 14 ultra-Orthodox women ran in various lists across the country and two won a seat in city councils.

As we prepare to launch the 7th Nivcharot Leadership Course, we pause to look back at our achievements and hope for better times. Most of all, we pray for the safe and speedy return of our hostages, the safety of our soldiers on the front lines, and the full recovery of our wounded.

As a mother of three soldiers in the army, I embrace the mothers of all our soldiers, wherever they may be.May the spring bring good tidings and renewal.

Esty Shushan

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