Jewish PTSD

The holiday of slichot, a deep turn in the direction of forgiveness before the Jewish new year - which includes yet a thousand more deep turns - arrives on Saturday late night. At the midnight hour, I expect to situate myself strongly inside the hymn Ela HaSlichot - a feminized version of the gorgeous sephardi melody. Before that, I'm teaching a workshop on collective Jewish PTSD for interfaith chaplains & clergy-in-training.

I've steeped for years in trauma-healing theory and practice, and the boot camp of my own body has been a vessel for understanding and transforming Jewish trauma since before birth. I often don't know the shape of what I want to say until shortly before the moment arrives. Waking this morning with a clear outline for the workshop, I feel wow'd by this map for understanding, anticipating, well-meeting and transforming collective Jewish trauma as it lives inside the body of individuals and communities.

I am grateful for the Somatic Experiencing work of Peter Levine which has helped me understand that trauma lives in unresolved responses & in the nervous system, rather than the event itself, and that rooting and returning to positive resource is the way forward. And for the three years of assistants in that professional training who held me spaciously each time I ran out the door. I remember being an audacious 25 year old in a cohort of seasoned therapists integrating the work into their private practices, announcing clearly that I was in the training to gather what I needed to work with large groups to heal collective Jewish PTSD.

I am grateful for the Ancestral Medicine work of Daniel Foor which has helped me get my own lines well enough to evolve this cultural healing work more deeply and now to share new ways into it, as a practitioner of Ancestral Lineage Healing.

I am grateful for Kohenet community which has continually welcomed and hungered for my embodied experiment of lush and sensory thrive.

Sitting with my outline for tomorrow's workshop, I feel excited to have a way to touch this topic that addresses but doesn't sit inside of overwhelm, that well-meets intensity without morphing into it, that sees collective Jewish PTSD as a thing that is real but not all encompassing, a phenomenon that exists and that is entirely ripe and available for transformation. It is an incredible gift to be alive in this place and time, when this is possible in my body and in my communities in a way that hasn't been true inside my lines for some thousand years or more.


Taya Shere