By BERNIE BELLAN Faye Rosenberg-Cohen is one of the longest serving staff members at the Jewish Federation of Winnipeg. She actually got her start at the forerunner of the Federation, the Winnipeg Jewish Community Council. (During the course of our interview, she was able to find the date of her first day of employment at the WJCC: May 18, 1994.)
For the past many years Faye has been serving as the Chief Planning and Allocations Officer for the Federation, a role that carries with it a great many different responsibilities.
Recently though Faye has announced that she will be retiring from the Federation as of this coming December and entering into a totally new phase of her life.
I contacted Faye and asked her whether she’d consider being interviewed – about how she came to be doing what she has been doing for the Federation, the changes she’s seen in the Jewish community over her time as a senior administrator, and what life holds for her as she moves into retirement.
I should note that I had the opportunity to sit with Faye at a recent session of the Remis Lecture Series, which is held now at the Gwen Secter Centre on Thursdays at noon. Faye was the guest speaker one Thursday in July and, although she didn’t reveal back then that she would be retiring soon – and I wasn’t taking notes (which I would have had I known that Faye was summing up her career for perhaps the last time in public), much of what she had to say stuck with me, and so when I began my phone interview with her one recent Friday morning, I was able to look back upon much of the information she had disclosed that particular Thursday afternoon.
During the course of the interview, which was conducted August 12, Faye disclosed that her oldest son had just got engaged the night before. Faye and husband Harvey Cohen have three sons altogether (in order): Binyamin, Yitzchak, and Meir. As Faye put it succinctly: “three weddings in three years….One got married last October, one will get married this October and the one who got engaged will get married next summer.”
JP&N: “Where do your sons live?
Faye: “Binyamin lives in Chicago (where he’s a Jewish educator and his fiancé is doing a PhD in the school of divinity), Yitzchak (who obtained an engineering degree from McGill and is now moving on to acquire another degree in computer science) lives in New York where his wife is a resident in pediatrics, and my youngest, Meir, has lived in Toronto for many years, where his fiance is doing a PhD in clinical psychology.”
I observed that Faye and Harvey’s situation is, in some ways, emblematic of the problem that has affected Winnipeg’s Jewish community for years now: “Retaining people in Winnipeg.” I asked Faye to respond.
Faye: “Yes, because we have a global Jewish community and they can move back and forth whenever they need.”
I referred to Faye’s having told at that Remis lecture how she had transitioned from being a volunteer for the Winnipeg Jewish Community Council in the early 1990s to a paid staff member. I asked her to repeat the story.
Faye: “I was on the planning committee for the WJCC and it was really an exciting time because we were talking about what would be needed on the campus.
“The planning committee was vetting the needs and the requirements to go into the campus development plan.”
JP&N: “So this is in the early 90s then. And you were already working in data management – so your skills would have been a perfect fit for what the campus planners were looking for.”
Faye: “I had a masters in computer science (from the U of M. Faye noted that she was one of “three women in the masters class… My mother was one of three women who graduated in commerce.) I had been working in data design and executive information systems management for almost 13 years (at that point).”
I asked how she became involved with the WJCC?
Faye: “I started as a volunteer with the Young Women’s Division. Then I was invited to take a seat on the board as (a representative) from Young Leadership and chaired the young leaders course. I was given a Young Leadership award when my oldest son was a baby.”
I remarked to Faye that I recalled her telling the Remis Lecture audience that when she began working for the WJCC she was actually doing work for which she had previously volunteered.
Faye: “I was on the planning committee, but then the actual Director of Planning, Loraine Bentley, moved to Ottawa because her husband got a job there. So Bob (Freedman, who was then the executive director of the WJCC) called me. He knew that at that particular moment I was not working and he invited me to apply.”
JP&N: “Were you not working because you were looking after one of your kids?”
Faye: “No, I was not working because I had a brief but very bad experience at another job – which is a whole different story.”
JP&N: “So Bob offered you the position that you’ve been holding ever since, although your title has changed slightly.”
“You were involved in the original development of the campus – right?”
Faye: “It was a campus committee before it became the campus corporation. Sheldon Berney was the chair. The meetings were held in a little building on the site.”.
“I worked with the planning committee to finish vetting some of the requests and the expectations. I had been in technology so I worked on the technology requirements part of it…the rfp for putting in phone systems and networking.”
I remarked that the offices of the WJCC used to be at the former YMHA building at 370 Hargrave. “So you must have worked there first?” I asked.
Faye: “I did. I got the job offer from Bob – another offer for a different systems job – and a positive pregnancy test – all in the same morning.”
“I didn’t know I was pregnant when I got the job offers so I called both of them back and said, ‘I’m going to give you a chance to withdraw the offers.’”
But – the offer from the WJCC still stood – even though Faye says that she did take a pay cut to take the job.
Faye: “I remember trotting along with Evelyn Hecht – who is a very fast walker and I was very pregnant, and we walked over to the Immigration Office and we met with someone who was a prospective immigrant to Manitoba. He was from Buenos Aires – and he was Jewish, and lo and behold that became the inspiration for ‘Grow Winnipeg’.”
At that point I wanted to switch gears, and I asked Faye to give a description of how her role as the community’s principal planner has evolved since the first took on the role 28 years ago?
Faye: “I was very fortunate in that I was given the freedom to grow it – to identify the most important areas to work on, and bring those forward to different leadership and planning committees. So I got to work writing the ‘Grow Winnipeg’ strategy. We were going to have a new home and we could focus more on bringing the community back together and focus on other issues rather than worrying about whether all the buildings were going to leak.
“I was just going through some files. We got to work on youth engagement as part of that. I was involved in helping build the ‘Club Fed’ leadership training program. Then, much later we got to build a ‘Jewish engagement strategy.’
“I say ‘we’ because that was the point when we had other people come on board, like Rena Elbaze (Secter), Avi Posen, and Florencia Katz – who’s now the director (of Education and Engagement). We brought Limmud to Winnipeg, PJ Library…PJ Library is probably the best thing that’s happened to Jewish communities in North America – maybe in the world – in over 40 years. It’s such a fantastic way of engaging young families and getting to know them.”
JP&N: “In terms of ‘Grow Winnipeg’, what were the basics of the plan? I take it it was to encourage immigration.”
Faye: “It was actually more than that. It was to encourage immigration, it was also to encourage people to stay. It turns out that the factors that allow young people to stay include that it’s easier to live here, they find significant others, they build lives here…it’s actually been a growing population. We’ll find out for sure when we see the next census data (which is not scheduled to start being released until November).”
JP&N: “There’s always been much talk about the initiative to Argentina. I assume you were quite involved in that, weren’t you?”
Faye: “Yes, I worked alongside Evelyn (Hecht) and after two years I was responsible for Grow Winnipeg, where I supervised Dalia (Szpiro) (GrowWinnipeg director), so I was part of it right from the start.”
JP&N: “Speaking of immigration, I know there’s been a bit of a downturn in the numbers coming here since Covid, but since all provinces have been given increases in the numbers of immigrants they’ll be allowed to bring under Provincial Nominee Programs, can you put your finger on how many new immigrants have come here over the years?”
Faye: “I can honestly say when I look at those numbers it’s somewhere around 1/3 of the community.”
JP&N: “So you’d say it’s somewhere between 4-5,000?”
Faye: “I think it’s more than that.”
JP&N: “You know that I’ve always been skeptical about the numbers that have been used for the population of the Jewish community by the Federation. I think though that it’s always been more of a case of identification – who identifies as Jewish? Has part of your role been trying to get people who didn’t identify as part of the community more involved?”
Faye: “Yes, in the 1990s it was called Jewish continuity and Jewish renaissance and now we talk about welcoming and engagement, but I think the key issue is trying to build the community and make everyone feel welcome in some part of Jewish life. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they have to have a membership somewhere.”
JP&N: “I know we’ve spoken about this before. Evelyn Katz used to be the unofficial demographer for the community. Is there a database for what you would consider the entire Jewish community?”
Faye: “No, once privacy legislation came along, that was it. Evelyn used to talk to real estate agents, and find out who died, who was born. And then it stopped, nobody could tell her anything. It was against the rules.”
JP&N: “So how do you arrive at your estimates for the size of the Jewish population then?”
Faye: “I rely on the analysis from the census.”
JP&N: “But the last census that was really valid was the 2011 National Household Survey.”
Faye: “So we had to make the best guess that we could – what we could see with our own eyes, and where the gaps were in the data.”
JP&N: “I remember when you started a community planning process in 2016 where Carol Duboff was the chair.”
Faye: “Yes, we called the consultations community conversations.”
JP&N: “What do you think are the keys to maintaining a strong and vibrant community?”
Faye: “That’s always been my focus, Bernie. I’m the person who’s been tasked with looking ahead as the planning director. If you look at our webpage, which is jewishwinnipeg.org/planning, you’ll see that we lay out those priorities. I talked to more than 400 people that year.
“We focused it around four priority areas. It turns out that one of those priority areas, which was Jewish connection, is not something that you act on by itself. It’s the glue that says everything we do needs to promote more and more connections between Jews and with the Jewish community
“Then we focused on the priority areas in terms of goals that we could set – an action plan including: vibrant Jewish life, an inclusive and caring community, and then the things that were the supportive structures.
“I think there are a lot of different kinds of vibrant Jewish life; there’s not just one kind.”
JP&N: “Let’s talk about your retirement. Are you going to be fully retired when you leave your position?”
Faye: “I am. I have an ambition and a plan. I’m going to go be a student for a term.”
JP&N: “And what about Harvey (Faye’s husband)? Is he also retired?”
Faye: “Harvey is also about to retire. He’s worked at the Convention Centre for many years where he worked as the systems manager for the director of the Convention Centre. Once he retired from there he worked at a Catholic counseling centre for the past six years, where he was the equivalent of a CFO.”
Faye then proceeded to explain that both she and Harvey will be going to Israel in the near future. “Harvey is going first and I will go in January when I’m finished (at the Federation). I will be a student at the Pardes Institute…where I’ll be studying Talmud and maybe Chasidut, maybe something about Jewish history…When I was graduating high school those things weren’t available to girls in the same way it was for my boys. You couldn’t go to a program in Israel where you were allowed to study Talmud in a co-ed situation.”
JP&N: “I think there’s something to be said for the Federation, too, as people have come in. It seems to me there’s always been someone there to provide them with mentorship.” Are you the longest-serving employee at the Federation?”
Faye: “No, Elaine Goldstine came a year before me. She worked with (the late) Gerry Kaufman on the fundraising side, who was also a mentor to me. Gerry told me that when he went out on calls he wasn’t soliciting funds, he was finding Jews. If you found the pintele Yid (the Jew inside) the money would follow. But first you need the connection.”
At that point I told Faye that I would send her this interview and offered to let her add anything pertinent that we might have missed during the course of our half-hour conversation.
She sent this post script:
I have worked with so many brilliant lay leaders who taught me so many things, I can’t even make a list small enough for the paper. In the last few years, we’ve been able to build up process, create continuity with vice chairs set to become the next chair, building strong collaboration across the community.
We are not a large enough community to have too many separate groups and agencies and silos. Our great advantage in Winnipeg is that we are out here in Winnipeg. We have to work together to get things done for ourselves and embrace the diversity of our community. We have a long history of doing just that.
I feel like I’m leaving behind something robust enough to let the next planning and allocations director dig in, get started, and then put their own self into the work. And I am grateful for having had the chance to serve my own Jewish community.
Legal Roadmap: Canadians Working Down Under in Australia
Australia’s sun-kissed shores, vibrant cities, and dynamic job market attract many Canadians looking to expand their horizons. The allure of working Down Under is strong, but before you can exchange the chilly Canadian winters for Australia’s summer beaches, there’s a significant legal pathway to navigate. This post will guide you through the necessary steps to ensure that your Australian work experience is both enjoyable and compliant with local laws. One essential element is securing an Australian visa for Canadians, but there’s much more to consider. Let’s dive in.
Understanding Australian Work Visas for Canadians
The first port of call for any Canadian looking to work in Australia is to secure the correct visa. The Australian visa for Canadians is not a one-size-fits-all; there are several options depending on the nature and duration of your stay.
Working Holiday Visa (Subclass 417)
Many young Canadians (18 to 30 years old, with a recent extension to 35 for some applicants) choose the Working Holiday visa. This visa allows you to work and travel in Australia for up to 12 months, with the possibility of extending it for a second or third year if certain conditions are met, such as undertaking regional work.
Temporary Skill Shortage Visa (Subclass 482)
If you have skills in particular occupations that are in demand, you might qualify for the Temporary Skill Shortage visa. This requires sponsorship from an approved Australian employer and has both short-term and medium-term streams.
Employer Nomination Scheme (Subclass 186)
For Canadians with significant work experience who are being offered a permanent role in Australia, the Employer Nomination Scheme visa may be suitable. It allows you to work in Australia permanently, and your occupation must be on the relevant list of eligible skilled occupations.
Skilled Independent Visa (Subclass 189)
This visa is for invited workers and New Zealand citizens with skills Australia needs. For Canadians, it means you’re not sponsored by an employer or family member or nominated by a state or territory government.
Securing an Australian Visa for Canadians
Assess Your Eligibility
Your first step is to determine which visa fits your circumstances best. Assess your skills, qualifications, and the purpose of your stay in Australia to identify the right visa subclass.
Gather Necessary Documentation
Once you’ve determined the visa you need, compile all the necessary documentation. This may include proof of qualifications, work experience, health insurance, and police checks.
Most visa applications can now be made online via the Australian Government’s Department of Home Affairs website. Ensure all information is accurate and that you include all required supporting documents to avoid delays.
Processing times can vary depending on the visa type and the volume of applications received by the Department of Home Affairs. During this time, keep an eye on your application status and be prepared to provide additional information if requested.
Upon approval, you’ll receive your visa grant number and the date your visa starts. Make sure to comply with all visa conditions and keep a copy of your visa grant notice.
Preparing for the Australian Workplace
Understanding the legal framework is vital, but it’s just as important to prepare for the cultural shift in the workplace.
Australian work culture might be more casual and laid back than you’re used to in Canada. However, this doesn’t mean that Australians do not work hard. It’s a balance, with a strong emphasis on work-life harmony.
Employee Rights and Obligations
Familiarize yourself with Australian labour laws. The Fair Work Ombudsman provides resources outlining your rights and obligations as an employee in Australia, including fair pay, work hours, and workplace safety.
Leverage social platforms like LinkedIn or local Canadian-Australian business associations to build your network and find job opportunities.
Once you arrive, there are a few practicalities to take care of:
Tax File Number (TFN)
You’ll need to apply for a TFN for taxation purposes. Without it, you’ll be taxed at the highest rate.
Australian Bank Account
Open a local bank account to manage your finances efficiently. Some banks allow you to open an account from Canada up to three months before you arrive.
Consider short-term accommodation while you get your bearings. Research the housing market in your chosen city to find something more permanent.
Depending on the visa, you might need to maintain health insurance coverage for the duration of your stay. Research Australian health insurance providers and select a suitable policy.
Abiding by Visa Conditions
Ensure you fully understand the conditions of your visa. Working longer than permitted or outside of the terms could lead to visa cancellation.
Understand your tax obligations. Canada and Australia have a tax treaty to prevent double taxation. However, it’s wise to consult with a tax professional.
Consider consulting with an immigration lawyer or registered migration agent to assist with complex visa applications or issues that arise while in Australia.
Embrace the Australian Experience
Working in Australia can be a life-changing experience. By following this legal roadmap, you’ll be well-equipped to embrace the Australian lifestyle and work culture. Remember, securing an Australian visa for Canadians is your golden ticket to an incredible personal and professional journey Down Under. Prepare thoroughly, respect the local laws, and immerse yourself in all the adventures that await.
Why don’t the Palestinians of Gaza rid themselves of Hamas?
By JACK LONDON I am Jewish. I am sickened by and angry about the unprovoked invasion of Israel by Hamas and its brutal murders, rapes, dissection and kidnappings of Israeli babies, children, women, and men. I am offended by the ignorance and distortion of the region’s history. I am offended by the policies of the CBC and other journalists who use the word “militants” to describe “terrorists.”.Militants do not rape, murder and amputate the heads of babies. Terrorists do. Hamas and terrorism are synonyms. They are not freedom fighters; they are oppressive cruel despots and thugs who have subjugated and sacrificed their own people. I am mortified that a group of 38 Liberal MPs, (perhaps led astray by Prime Minister Trudeau’s own jump to a wrongful judgment of Israel’s responsibility for the deaths in a Gaza hospital parking lot), have authored a demand that Israel desists from pursuing the leadership and mechanisms of Hamas’s terror these many years. Just what is the alternative when cowardly terrorists use civilian populations as shields behind which to hide, plot and act out their nefarious brutality?
Most of all, I ask myself why it is that the Palestinian population of Gaza has not itself found the desire, courage, or capacity to stand up, demand elections and exorcise its malevolent Hamas government?
I am not a Pollyanna automaton about Israel. I don’t agree with Israel’s ultra-orthodox sects whose members fail to serve their country and, replicating the past, inhibit their future. I do not support suggestions by some Israeli settlers of the West Bank to introduce apartheid-like policies into Israel’s existing principled democracy. Apartheid was, is and must remain an antonym to Israeli ethics and democracy. I condemn the recent retaliatory murders of some Palestinians by a few settlers on the West Bank. I fear and oppose the recent attempts by PM Netanyahu and his fascistic coalition partners to take uninhibited control of government by reducing judicial expertise and oversight of Israel’s basic laws. Netanyahu’s coalition has been, for the moment, sidelined by the recent formation of the Unity War Coalition, but it will be back in control. It is anti-democratic and increasingly and rightly disrespected in the Jewish Diaspora. Moreover, Netanyahu and his coalition conservatives have been so focused on their radical, self-serving, anti-democratic restructuring of the essential liberalism of Israel, they failed to fulfill their primary responsibilities: anticipation of, protection from and defense against inevitable attacks by Hamas throughout its modern existence and its allies. Tragic!
Nevertheless, Israel has been a shining light of democracy, innovation, education, science, business, progress, inventiveness, peace, humanism and a haven for Jews and others suffering persecution around the world. Absurdly, these strengths inflate the historic conscious or unconscious anti-Semitism of much of the world for whom anti-Zionism is just a synonym for anti-Semitism. But, Jews are the historical citizens and governors of the land of Israel. Read the voluminous histories and the Bible, check the archeology, and study the scholarly works. On the other hand, a Palestinian People has never existed or held governmental control of the land of Israel. Arabs have lived on the land, named Palestine by the world’s superpowers in 1929, but they were never rulers or governors of a state. The governance for centuries had been Ottoman and, later, British.
Compared with the never-ending deadly damage Arab leaders in the Middle East have imposed on their own populations, I take great pride in Israel’s development and in the two million progressive and successful Arabs who, as residents of Israel, share rights equivalent to Jewish citizens, including participation in the Knesset, its governing Parliament.
Hamas, which rules in and dominates Gaza, is a Mafia-like organization of masked (always the telltale mark of terror) soldiers, first elected to office in 2007, but never since forced to stand for re-election. The leadership of The Palestinian Authority has had legitimate governance rights in Gaza and the West Bank but has been hampered and obstructed by Hamas. Both the PA and Hamas have never had any compunction about senseless provocation of Israel, which has led inevitably to the disbenefit of Palestinians who deserve better. Their hate invokes continuing hardship, peril, death, and a Kafka-like impossibility of finding their way out to the light.
It is not the fault of the Palestinian residents themselves. Arab leaders, not Israelis, authored the wars in the region which have cost their peoples dearly. Successful, learned, intelligent, hardworking, affluent, peace desiring Arabs and Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank outnumber those who are poor and hawkish. They all are victims. They suffer never ending fear and malignant infection because of Hamas’s terrorism, the ineptness of the Palestinian Authority, and absurdly evil misinterpretations of the Koran by radical Mullahs – all of which is supported by Iran and Hezbollah. They teach hatred of Jews to Arab children in their schools, thereby victimizing yet another generation of their own people.
The Palestinians who suffer in the disputed territories and Gaza are victims deserving of our caring and support. Given its seaside port and border, Gaza, which originally was Egyptian, could have flourished when Israel unilaterally withdrew its troops and settlers in 2007. It failed because of Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. The failure was not because of Israel’s insistence on a blockade at the Gaza’s border with the sea; it was because of Hamas terror and Iranian malevolence that a blockade has been necessary.
The Palestinians suffer from the shortsightedness of their leaders, terrorist or not, who consistently reject available solutions that would end hostilities and would permit peace and prosperity to reign for all. Peace and viable two state options have been open to Arab leaders for decades and not taken. The United Nation’s 1948 Partition Plan, which divided the former British mandate into two states, was rejected by the Arabs who instead chose war- twice. United Nations Resolution 242 called for a land-for-peace solution. It has been offered and refused. The 1978 Camp David Accords failed. The Oslo Accords of Israeli Prime Ministers Peres and Rabin, and PLO Chairman Arafat in 1993/95, which bore the seeds of success, were sabotaged. The generous Camp David Accord of 2000 negotiated by President Clinton between Israeli Prime Minister Barak and Chairman Arafat was quickly renounced by Arafat. Arafat likely demurred because he feared assassination from his own if he did the right thing.
Israel’s two base line conditions for peace: acceptance that Jews are a People, not only a religion, and that Israel has the right to exist as a homeland of the Jewish People, have not been honored.
My concern for the Palestinian population of Gaza, Jerusalem, and the West Bank, stems primarily from the failure of its leaders to grab the always available opportunity to secure a new, flourishing path for their people. I bemoan their timidity and shortsightedness and I fear for the never-ending disappointment and pain of their people They deserve better from their own but their own, Hamas, are illegitimate cowards and murderers.
Abba Eban, the brilliant Israeli orator, in a speech in Geneva in 1973 famously exclaimed that “Arabs never miss the opportunity to miss an opportunity.” I wish Eban had been wrong. But, though some Arab countries have moved forward into the light, my heart tells me that in the case of the Palestinians, nothing has changed. They are doomed to suffer under the crushing heels of their immoral terrorists and incapable politicians, past and present.
Unfortunately, the worst is yet to come. Israel’s intention to disable Hamas once and for all will have unhappy side effects in Gaza, Israel, and the broader Middle East. But it has no option. It is at war begun by Hamas, which must be eradicated. It cannot allow terror to win. It cannot insult the memory of the victims of the Hamas massacre and the yet unknown fate of more than two hundred hostages held by Hamas. The side effects will be many and unhappy, but there is no choice. Israelis cannot be docile while facing the barrels of guns aimed at them. It must eradicate the shooters.
Jack R London C.M, Q.C, LLM (Harv)
Author: “Serendipity: My Path Through Life and Law” (Heartland Associates Great Books).
Former Dean of Law, University of Manitoba;
presently, Senior Counsel to a Winnipeg Law Firm
A Winnipeger at heart speaks from the heart from Jerusalem: Solly Dreman, Ph.D.
Posted Oct. 31, 2023 By SOLLY DREMAN Israel is faced today with a crisis of historical proportions with a threat not only to its existence but to the free democratic world at large. The horrendous events of Shabbat October 7th in which 1400 citizens, men, women and children and infants were slaughtered, decapitated and raped, 3400 injured and 239 taken hostage in Gaza or declared missing has shocked the nation, shaken Israeli citizens’ confidence and is threatening not only Israel but the free democratic world .
There is no question that this was a genocide of historical proportions and an act of pure evil designed like the Holocaust to ultimately exterminate the Jewish people world-wide. This is the professed aim of Jihad, but the reactions of the international community extend beyond Islam and the cries of the woke international community for “the massacre of the massacred” echoed in recent mass demonstrations, hate crimes, support of leading university administrators and their students is unforgivable. Even more shocking is the support of so called liberal progressive Jews, even rabbis, against Israel in support of a “Free Palestine”.
As a Winnipegger who made Aliyah to Israel in 1964 and has been a part of the main stream of Israel’s life as a clinical psychologist dealing with central issues in Israel like war and terrorism, immigration, death and dying and families in crisis, I have been exposed to some of the main streams in Israel’s development. I am proud of being an Israeli and being part and parcel of this young, dynamic, nation state. I am, however, deeply concerned with the fate of our nation, which is the ultimate saferoom for the Jewish people in times of crisis.
As a Winnipegger I am very proud of my origins and even wrote a book: “A Personal Odyssey:
From Winnipeg to Jerusalem” (link attached). Winnipeg is a great supporter of Israel and in the Yom Kippur War in 1973 donated more per capita than any other city in North America. Bernie Bellan just wrote me that in the current war efforts Winnipeg has raised over 3.6 million dollars for Israel’s war efforts, which is indeed commendable. In these fateful days Israel badly needs the continued and unconditional support of world Jewry. Knowing Winnipeg’s Jewish community well I am certain Israel can count on its continuing support for Israel as the continuing homeland for world Jewry.🙏
Solly Dreman made Aliyah to Israel in 1964. He is a Fulbright Scholar (University of California Medical School, 1977) and Professor Emeritus in Clinic Psychology at Ben Gurion University of the Negev. He was the Brigade Psychologist of the Jerusalem Brigade on the Suez Canal in the Yom Kippur War in 1973
Post script: I asked Solly whether, given his extensive experience as a psychologist, he could offer any tips to Israelis that might help them in the current situation. Here is what he wrote back:
1. Unprecedented rates of volunteering on the home front such as offering psychological assistance, hosting refugee families from the south and north, providing food and clothing for both civilians and soldiers, etc. Being active is therapeutic and diminishes self concern and anxiety.
2. The media: Too much exposure, particularly to graphic portrayals of violence exacerbates anxiety. Too little exposure and lack of information also promotes uncertainty and anxiety. Need a moderate level of exposure.
3. Social support as displayed in whatsapp groups, zoom meetings, meetings with friends when exposure to threat is minimal are important and prevalent.
4. Parents, should present their children a confident but not invincible stance like “For sure we will win!”. They should not be afraid to admit that they are also anxious because this will prevent their children from expressing their emotions.
5. Information about victims on the home and battle front should be conveyed to children and family at large because, particularly in Israel, war and grief are intimate and the facts on the warfront will ultimately be revealed. Failure to disclose realities on the ground will create a confidence gap.
6. Routine and activity should be encouraged such as physical activity, school when there are adequate safe rooms and family and social visits when the security situation permits.
7. Contact with families of victims is important. As a brigade psychologist in the Yom Kippur War many families complained that friends avoided them because it was difficult for them to confront death and dying. This was very painful for deceased families