Life's Tool Box – A Guide for Parents and Educators

October 22, 2012

Speaking Without Words

Filed under: Tools for Life Posts — by Life's Toolbox @ 2:31 am
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This week I attended a program at Yeshiva University that had offered an opportunity to hear from Gilad Shalit, and members of his army unit.  Shalit is the Israeli soldier held captive by Hamas from 2006 to 2011.   I entered a packed auditorium, while outside lines of students wanting to attend wound round the block.  The stage had two rows of chairs, each with a microphone.  The moderator explained that the squad of soldiers were speaking in various places on this trip, and were accompanied by trauma experts.


The unit commander approached the podium and said, through a translator, that his squad experienced a horrible event in 2006  which resulted in the death of 2 of their comrades and Gilad Shalit’s capture.  This trip, he explained, was part of their work towards closure.


The evening proceeded with the moderator asking questions and various soldiers choosing to come to the microphone and answer.  Multiple times the audience rose to their feet.   There was applause of appreciation and support when the men of the Unit were introduced, when they spoke of continuing their duties immediately on return to Israel, as they explained their commitment to each other and to the Zahal (Israeli Army’s) ethical code to avoid harm to civilians, even when it increases risk to soldiers.


As the capacity crowd left the building there were some murmurings of disappointment.  Some questions had been left unanswered, the chairs on the stage had remained empty. Mostly, those privileged to be there were pleased they had come.  True, Gilad Shalit did not speak.  But everyone in the packed auditorium listened to his unspoken testimony.  We heard pain and courage, commitment and loss.  And I for one left feeling that I had been part of an important dialogue.  I know I “heard” Gilad, even without his words.  I hope Gilad and his fellow soldiers heard us too.  I hope our message was loud and clear, an auditorium packed to the rafters with students and faculty  voicing our care, our pride, and our understanding for things words cannot begin to say.




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