Weeks ago, Rabbi Deborah Waxman and founder Yoshi Silverstein scheduled this discussion about embodied Jewish practice and antiracism. Did it make any sense to have this conversation in the wake of Hamas’ Oct. 7 massacre of Israeli civilians and hostage taking, the subsequent and unfolding war and its tremendous toll on Palestinian civilians? After pausing to consider, they decided that such a conversation is more important than ever, both to themselves and listeners. Silverstein, founder and director of the Mitsui Collective, explains that in difficult times like these, embodiment practices can help us understand and name the extent to which strong emotions are having an impact on us. Awareness and practice are key to being able to respond to stressful stimuli in a healthy way. He outlines several simple practices that can help, including orienting and box breathing, and quotes Viktor Frankl, the psychotherapist and Holocaust survivor whose writing deeply informs how humans understand trauma. "Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom."
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