Clear As Mud

Life at War

I don’t have the words to explain how it feels to be living through the last six weeks. Honestly, we are all living through it, so you don’t need my words to address your lived experience. 

Throughout these last few weeks, I was having this feeling like “I wish I had something to say”, “I wish I can put some of my feelings into words”, “I wish I had the talent to write something beautiful and inspiring to comfort and uplift my followers, friends, and community”. Somewhere deep down I knew that the time would come that I would have something to share, and all the while I found so much comfort in reading and sharing the beautiful thoughts and posts from others. 

I now know why all of the sudden now I’m like “oh I need to write a post ASAP!”, I have all these realizations and ideas that are just swimming around in my head that I need to get down on paper and they are all related to trying to navigate the mess of life we are living right now. I couldn’t share it right away or earlier on because I haven’t lived it yet. 

I have a lot of thoughts bouncing around in my brain and a lot of emotions swimming around in my heart, I will do my best to make it as coherent as I can:

This is the first war against the Jews that we are going through that social media is so prevalent and a huge part of our lives. I’m really seeing the impact that it’s having on my nervous system. To be getting a constant stream of devastating news every time we open our phone is a reality that we are having to face. And I’m not sure we have the luxury of tuning that out, every time I think I’ve figured out the balance that works for me, it goes to hell. Another layer to this all, is that not only are we witnessing tragedy in real time, but we are also privy to many people/influencers’ personal reactions, grief process and opinions.

I find that in addition to feelings of grief and overwhelm and helplessness, little feelings of shame start to creep in. Am I grieving enough? Am I grieving in the right way? If I’m trying to live, do my job, be a good mom, does that mean I’m not sad enough…  How could I function if I really absorb it all? And it doesn’t end there. Our nation, we Jews are held to such a high standard. During all of this, the massacre, our soldiers at war, and the mass antisemitic cool club we are seeing across the USA, we are charged with the “simple” task of adding light. of course, we do it and frankly we don’t know another way, but does anybody else feel the pressure?… I Do! Just because we have no choice, just because it’s the right thing to do, doesn’t mean it’s not hard! it doesn’t mean that we are not left spinning with so many opposing emotions and are dizzy with uncertainty and confusion. Our nervous systems are struggling, they are under fire. Each of us in our own life is going to need to figure out how to move through this time. My way might not look like your way, it probably shouldn’t look the same; we are different people with different lives and circumstances. 

I’m a sharer, so I’m going to share with you my process, what I’m trying to implement in my life, how I landed where I am now, and my very real struggles along the way. I Hope you find some comfort in knowing there is another person out there struggling with real human emotions that we rather not acknowledge. 

(Side note, as I’m writing this we are waiting for news about the ceasefire/hostage situation and my heart is beating and I’m on edge, as well as second guessing my decision to write this article. Just putting it out there)

During the last two months I was pushed (due to circumstance) to spend more time than I would like, reflecting and kinda analyzing the different layers of struggle I was having. Of course, what’s on the forefront, layer number one are the tragedies and constant heartbreaking news all the damn time.  Layer number two is the denial and gross hatred of Jews. Layer number three for me was more complex and harder to figure out. But I did 😉 

My Family life is quite intense. My children take a lot of energy and therapeutic parenting is exhausting. Most of my kids are in a difficult stage right now (starting way before the war) and it leaves me very little room for other big life events or huge global tragedies.  It’s not really anything new, but the family Hashem blessed me with is unique and takes a level of presence and care that pushes me to my limits.  One of the ways that has allowed me to show up for my family at my best is the ability to share parts of my life, to be seen, to have a creative outlet and to feel worthy outside of my home life. Not to worry, I know that true self-worth comes from within, I work on that constantly, but it doesn’t hurt to find passion and fulfillment outside if yourself.  Two things happened for me.  One: so much mental and emotional energy went to the war, what’s happening to Israel and to our people, that I found myself with very little left for my family, which does not work. I know all families need their mom on point, but some families have a bit of wiggle room, mine does not!  Two: my outlet, my place of release, became first, scary, and second, not a place where I felt appropriate or comfortable to share things outside of war. That was hard for me, more than hard. It took a while for me to figure out that this is probably because it was an uncomfortable feeling and felt shallow and petty. Yet, it is what it is, and now that I know it, I can confront it and start to navigate it. 

We are now many weeks into this war, and it now feels appropriate and more of a necessity to figure out how to proceed. There are no rules and I’m sure you’ll be seeing a lot of trial and error, many people process, as we all try to live through this time. We are not moving on! that will never happen, but we are learning to live with it, we need to.

I don’t want to go to the other extreme and never look or know what’s going on (that happens from burnout, we flip all the way to the other side) I want to be connected to my people. I want to feel the pain of our losses and the joys of our strengths. So, I came up with a little plan for myself. It will always be a work in progress because things are so fluid, but at least I will have a foundation.

Every morning I will start my day with Tzedakah and a few minutes of prayer. For the soldiers, for the hostages, for our people. That’s probably the most impactful thing I can do. Regarding social media, I will devote a few minutes every day to share either something important, educational, or inspirational and then I will respectfully and intentionally (which I’m sure you’ve seen already on my page and many others) share other parts of my life. Not for one minute does that mean I have forgotten or become callous to our current events. It’s me deciding to live, because of who we are, because this is the way I fight back against the evil of Hamas and the haters in our country. 

May we merit the coming of Mashiach right now!!! The fastest way to come out of this darkness!

With love and hope,



Noah has cooked in a variety of kitchens and has studied many different cuisines, but his favorite meals to prepare are the ones that make his guests smile. Be it Thai, Italian, Caribbean or Latin, there is always a fun surprise waiting for you at meal time. Noah welcomes special requests and guests in his kitchen! Just stop by and say hi.

Yocheved Sidof is a social entrepreneur, psycho-mystical depth work facilitator, writer, educator, speaker, and activist. After a decade as a filmmaker and photographer, she founded Lamplighters Yeshivah, a grassroots, internationally acclaimed, progressive Chassidic Montessori school. Yocheved builds communities with healing at the center. Most recently, she founded Ohm’ek, an intentional collective focusing on meditation, embodied mysticism, and micro-retreats.

A lifelong learner, she’s completed extensive training in adaptive leadership, therapeutic coaching, and systemic change. She is currently in a two-year intensive training with Thomas Hubl, studying psycho-somatic-mystical models of healing personal, collective, and ancestral trauma. She also writes, consults, works 1:1 with clients, facilitates group transformational work, and regularly teaches Jewish spiritual studies.

Yocheved sits on boards supporting innovations in mental health awareness and self-transformation. She has studied Jewish mysticism and meditation extensively, including with Rav Katz since 2018, completing Elevation Teacher Training and sitting on his advisory board for over a year.

Yocheved, her husband, and five children live in Crown Heights, Brooklyn. Come say “Hi!” if you’re in the neighborhood.