My Heart is Broken. My Spirit Soars.

Israel is an amazing country. It swings from highs to lows faster than a seesaw and from despair to hope in the same minute.

Yesterday, during the chuppa of my cousin’s wedding, I received notice that our 3 teenage captives were definitely dead. Their unique Godly, cherub-like human spirit, murdered by savage, inhuman, death-loving Hamas terrorists. We then danced our hearts out with the newly married couple, celebrating the creation of a new family in Israel. On the way home, we shed a tear for the boys and their families. Then I went to Kikar Zion (Zion square) until after 2am, where hundreds of youth sang and held each other in a cathartic exercise of inspired hope. And inspiring it was.

Today are the funerals of Naftali, Gil-ad and Eyal. There is a pall over the country as thousands, if not tens of thousands, get ready to make their way to the funerals in Modiin. The smiling photos of these three boys, our boys, is seared in my memory. Over the last 2 weeks, Israel was inspired by the courage, selflessness and inspired spirit of the mothers and families. Today, we will mourn and shed many tears together.

With some ambivalence due to the circumstances, this morning I fulfilled a standing commitment to judge the TOM (Tikkun Olam Make-A-Thon) in Nazareth. TOM is a make-a-thon which joined disabled people with creative technologists, designers, innovators and makers to develop solutions for the physically challenged at affordable prices.

Mark the maker and his team teamed with Netanel, a 9 year old without parts of his left hand and no real fingers. Using open source code, X-rays of Netanel’s hand and 3D scanners and printers, the “Lend a Hand” team built a plastic 3D printed prosthesis for Netanel. in less than 3 days, using 3D printers, they improved & iterated the design to look like human fingers and modelled it on Netanel’s right hand. They also optimised its use so he could put on a watch and catch a ball. Total cost, tens of dollars. Value to Netanel: priceless. Inspiration: Infinite.

Professor Intrator and his team of twenty somethings teamed with Sefi, a quadriplegic from a car accident. Sefi used to play music and do puzzles. Since he lost the use of his motor skills he can no longer do either. In 3 days, Sefi’s team, built a platform which created a mechanical arm out of plumbing tubes, syringes, open source software and some wires that Sefi can control with a stylus in his mouth applied to an Android app. The “Arm” picks up puzzle pieces. Total cost of the arm, $20. However, that was not all, Sefi demoed playing music using the an EEG which channelled the electric signals in his brain to play and make music from his mind. Sefi’s smile on stage is something that I will never forget. It too is now seared in my memory.

I could go on. There were 15 projects like this that helped blind people, ALS sufferers, Children with disabilities, handicapped and others. It pushed the envelope on innovation and cost for serving the underserved. Most of all it inspired hope. Lot’s of hope. A hope of mutual responsibility; a hope that together we can surmount through love. A hope that we, Israel, will improve our lot and that of the entire world through ingenuity and innovation. A hope for Tikkun Olam in God’s spirit, that also reflects and respects the living Godly spirit in every human being. in teenage children. Now, off to the funerals to cry about the loss of a world, an Olam. And to hope for genuine Tikkun Olam.

Below is a draft poem that came to me last night while standing in Kikar Zion.

My Heart is Broken. My Spirit Soars

My heart is broken, 3 teens 3 mothers

My spirit soars, a nation’s love smothers

My heart is broken, 3 teens, 3 fathers

My spirit soars, one nation’s heart flutters

My heart is broken, murderers supported with impunity

My spirit soars, a nation bonds in unity

My heart is broken, a slow teary lamentation

My spirit soars, hugging youth, our future nation

My heart is broken, 3 mothers’ empty embrace

My spirit soars, mothers’ fortitude and grace

My heart is broken, lads laid in a field

My spirit soars, hugs form human shield

My heart is broken, bloodthirsty terror

My spirit soars, tireless soldiers search a brother

The boys are gone, peace still far, My heart broke

2000 years. Innovation. HaTikva. Tremendous hope

Ilan Sherman with his Arm!

[Originally published on 1st July 2014 by MIchael Eisenberg]