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Finding Hope and Healing After Tragedy

When bad news seems to be all around us, with new and terrible events occurring back-to-back, it’s difficult to remain happy and upbeat. The following guest post offers a unique perspective on how to find hope and healing after tragedy.


After coming home from the concluding services of Yom Kippur, our most holy day in the Jewish faith, I began to ponder what the next chapter of my life would bring.

I am always trying to figure out how I got to where I am today and where I may go tomorrow. What roads will I walk, what mountains will I climb, what rivers will I dare to cross? And, when I stumble and fall, will I be brave enough to get back up?

These thoughts tumbled abound in my head for the next day or so. And then, as if I was struck in the face by an open hand, my ears burned and my head began to spin with the horrible news of the tragedies of Las Vegas. How could thousands of innocent people be in the middle of a concert, no longer full of music but filled instead with the sounds of spraying bullets and screams?

What is happening to the world I once knew? It just didn’t seem real. I had to sit. I had to think. I had to cry. I had to pray.

I managed to get to my office, numb and still in shock. I poured a cup of coffee, took a seat at my desk and turned on the computer. And, before I could even catch my breath, I heard the somber news of the passing of one of my most beloved artists, Tom Petty. His music wrapped a ribbon around my family since before my kids were born. They grew up singing his songs and being inspired by his message.

My mind began to peddle faster and faster. What would the future bring with all this chaos, death, and sadness that we all seem to be bombarded with? The lump in my throat sat on my vocal cords, paralyzing me. My heart was broken. It was a very long and difficult day.

Then, as if to speak to me and steer me in the right direction, as I was driving home that evening, I saw one of the biggest, fullest moons of my entire life. It was smiling down on me from the vast space we call the sky. In that moment, I felt complete gratitude and an overwhelming sense of peace.

The moon reminded me of the cycle of life. Renewed each month, only to fade and disappear, just like the lives of so many people we once knew and in some sense, the reality of what the world once was for all of us. I thought of all those individuals whose moon will never renew, whose lives have been cut short, whose destinies have been interrupted by evil.

As I continued to search the sky for things that made sense, the more confused I became. The stars, the wind, the seas and mountains; I tried to understand the catastrophes of nature. In the last several months, we have seen terrible storms destroy homes and lives. Why, oh why, is this happening…

Are we on a path of destruction, filled with selfishness, violence and carelessness? And if we are, perhaps a new moon may not arise again for any of us?

It then occurred to me that there has to be a reason why things happen in the order that they do. There has to be a reason why at the end of a month of tragedy, senseless loss and destruction, we can still be inspired by a full moon and the renewal that it symbolizes. So, while we are not entirely safe and while I fear for my children and others, I have decided that the renewal of the soul cannot be deadened by a weapon, a hurricane, an earthquake, or the death of a beloved artist.

I will continue to pray, to be an inspiration to myself and those around me, and try to be a ribbon of trust, hope, and safety around all that I love. I will stand up to this hate and violence and I will always carry the message of Tom Petty, may he rest in peace: “Well, I won’t back down. No, I won’t back down.You can stand me up at the gates of hell, but I won’t back down.”

About the Author:

Stacey Marcus is living a life that she loves, due to the people and experiences that she has been blessed with. Throughout her life, Stacey has been involved with a variety of Jewish organizations, including serving on the executive board of two synagogues, volunteering with various Jewish outreach programs, including Chabad’s Friendship Circle, (a special needs children’s program), for which she was presented an outstanding community achievement award. Stacey has routinely volunteered for the elderly and those with special needs. Over the last several years, thanks to the encouragement of some amazing women, Stacey has become involved with the Jewish Women’s Renaissance Project (JWRP) and is now leading trips for other women going to Israel. She blogs regularly at Stacey Inside Out.

Donna Karan Defends Harvey Weinstein’s Abuse of Women

In what can only be described as two lunatics enabling each other’s warped logic, fashion designer Donna Karan is defending movie executive Harvey Weinstein.

During a red carpet interview, she offered up some truly shocking ideas, claiming the victims of Weinstein’s sexual harassment and abuse were “asking for it” and stated: “You look at everything all over the world today and how women are dressing and what they are asking by just presenting themselves the way they do. What are they asking for? Trouble.”

This is really hard to believe when she is known for designing extremely provocative clothes and underwear. The fact that she also pretends to care about women’s rights and empowerment, yet defends a decades-long serial abuser, is laughable.

If Donna Karan was interested in dressing modestly, why didn’t she devote her career to making that type of clothing? The answer should be obvious. Her only interest is enriching herself financially, not helping women around the globe. To sell sexy clothes and then blame the buyers, telling them that they’re “asking for it,” is not just hypocritical, it’s sick.

After the Bill Cosby trial, one of the jurors said he doubted the accuser because she went to Cosby’s house wearing a shirt that had a bare midriff. This type of “Blame the Victim” thinking is so pervasive, even in the year 2017, that I seriously doubt it can be completely overcome, especially when celebrities and other influencers keep promoting it.

Let’s be clear, once and for all: No woman asks to be sexually harassed, sexually abused, and/or raped. It doesn’t matter what she’s wearing, if she agreed to a date, if she was drinking, if she’s big busted, if she was flirtatious…it just doesn’t matter! A woman’s body is not public property. She alone can decide who touches her.

While I am extremely disgusted by men who promote and condone this type of bad behavior, it’s even worse when a woman does it. Don’t tell me Donna Karan has never been in a situation that made her feel objectified and/or uncomfortable. Every woman has! She should be standing up for other women, that don’t have her money and status, that are truly vulnerable and have no voice. Instead, she sides with someone who deliberately abused his power, offering career advancement in exchange for intimate touching and sexual favors. (According to many sources, even famous actresses like Ashley Judd and Rose McGowan were caught up in his web of terror.)

As a society, we need to beat the drum that sexual harassment and abuse is not a joke, is not insignificant, and is not okay. This type of crime creates lifelong scars in victims that may never go away. Women deserve to feel safe in their own bodies just like men do. We shouldn’t have to agree to a Hollywood casting couch mentality, that judges women based on their looks alone. A job should be based on talent and marketable skills, not how well a woman performs between the sheets.

I applaud the victims for speaking out and Donna Karan should as well. Instead of judging other women, we need to embrace each other and be more loving and understanding because this issue threatens every single one of us.

A Very Interesting Doctor’s Visit

Visiting a doctor, especially one I haven’t seen before, always fills me with dread. As long-time readers know, I’ve been dealing with eye trouble for a long, long time. (Full details here for those who are new or need a recap.) Instead of an annual exam, I’m supposed to go twice a year. Not a big deal there, except that my eye doctor, whom I’ve had for over a decade just closed his office. Thanks to Obamacare, he can no longer afford to stay open. Since he is the only doctor I have that I truly like and feel comfortable with, this has been super-difficult. 🙁

He referred me to a lady that was in the same town, but not someone I’d ever heard of previously. I went in without any expectations, filled out my forms, and then proceed to do the tests and recount my on-going tale of woe, regarding my eyes in particular and my numerous health issues in general.

Without skipping a beat, she said to me, “Oh, I bet you have tried everything and seen every specialist, but nobody has a final diagnosis.” Naturally, I agreed and we started talking about all different types of health problems, and the increasing rise of disease, and why almost everybody is sick nowadays, even young people.

Her specialty may be eyes, but oh my goodness, her knowledge of medicine in general was incredible! Not only was she nice, patient, and a good listener, she had some helpful suggestions that may actually work and doesn’t involve anything expensive or invasive.

Try a Gluten Free Diet for 30 days – Gluten increases inflammation throughout the body and most people are sensitive to it, even if they test negative for a true gluten allergy (which I have). It takes a minimum of a month for the gluten to leave your system, but some people have to do it much, much longer. Obviously, this will be challenging for a carb addict like me. Regardless, I am desperate for relief and very open to experimenting.

Drink “Master Tonic” 4x Daily – This tonic is a veggie-spice-vinegar concoction that also reduces inflammation, promotes healing, and boosts the immune system. While it was totally foreign to me, there are a ton of websites that claim it’s awesome. I chose this version from Recipes to Nourish. Some of the ingredients were obscure and locating them was a challenge; otherwise, the only difficult part is the endless chopping and peeling. It has to sit for 14 days before use, then take 1 spoonful every 6 hours until the jar is empty.

Twice Daily Compresses – Every morning and evening, take a warm, moist washcloth and lay it over my eyes and rest for a minimum of 10 minutes. It should help with dryness and strain.

By doing all 3 steps simultaneously, she thinks I will have a lot of relief. And if it doesn’t, at least no harm will be done. I’m cautiously optimistic right now and keeping my fingers crossed that it actually works. I’d much rather try a natural treatment over pills, that’s for sure.

So, if anyone has heard of these treatments or tried them, I’d love to hear about it. My understanding of gluten free is like being on a Passover diet forever, which isn’t too appetizing. Any gluten free recipes that actually taste good would be extremely appreciated!

National School Backpack Awareness Day

There are many dangers we worry about as parents, but backpacks aren’t usually on the list. Surprisingly, this common item—which most kids use 5 days a week—can cause considerable physical problems if used incorrectly. To bring attention to this worrisome issue, September 20th has been designated National School Backpack Awareness Day.

The American Occupational Therapy Association suggest these tips to keep kids safe:

  • Always select a backpack that is the correct size for your child.
  • Make sure the height of the backpack extends from approximately 2 inches below the shoulder blades to waist level, or slightly above the waist.
  • Always wear well-padded shoulder straps on both shoulders so the weight is evenly balanced.
  • Distribute weight evenly. Load heaviest items closest to the child’s back and balance materials so the child can easily stand up straight.
  • Wear the hip belt if the backpack has one, to improve balance and take some strain off sensitive neck and shoulder muscles.
  • Check that the child’s backpack weighs no more than 10% of his or her body weight. If it weighs more, determine what supplies can stay at home or at school each day to lessen the load.
  • If the backpack is still too heavy for the child, consider a book bag on wheels.

Another one that I’ve done is to weigh the backpack. (Try it and you’ll be shocked how heavy it is!) A lot of the time, kids carry way too much stuff that they will never use. Paring down is a great idea. All of these tips are easy to implement immediately, and with the exception of buying a new bag, won’t cost a dime.