Motivational Speaker and Life Coach Jacob Kimchy on Overcoming Trauma and Finding Happiness:
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An Interview in Hebrew with Jacob Kimchy – Inspiration – Motivation – Life – Finding happiness after trauma – http://www.ynetus.com
Rami Kimchy was killed in a terrorist attack in 2002 • His son Jacob made it his life’s mission to help other victims of terrorism and to explain to the world what it means to deal with trauma • The organization he founded — Lev Echad — does just that.
Hebrew version: http://www.israelhayom.co.il/article/275889
English version: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=25175
On May 7th, 2002, Jacob Kimchy’s entire life changed. The Rishon Lezion native was out for a late-night dinner with a friend when he received a call informing him of a terror attack that took place at The Sheffield Club, a popular spot in his hometown.
Rushing to the venue so he could help the survivors, he bore witness to the horrific scene inside before noticing a taxi cab parked outside.
It was his father’s.
The next few years would be somber for the Kimchy family, and equally so for Jacob, filled with grief and suffering over the injustice that occurred, and over the loss of his father. Somehow, he eventually found a new light, and sought out help. Jacob discovered that his experience with trauma – his story – could help others who’ve suffered from trauma, others who’ve lost friends and loved ones to terrorism. He moved to the U.S., and co-started a foundation, One Heart, helping victims of terrorism around the world. He also recalled his experiences during his position as a motivational speaker, and helped victims dealing with grief as a life coach.
In 2002, Jacob Kimchy’s father died in a Hamas suicide bombing in his hometown of Rishon LeZion. Thirteen years later Kimchy is still struggling with the loss, including nightmares that have him screaming in middle of the night.
Nevertheless, he has embarked on a journey to help other terror victims overcome their traumas as Israel on Wednesday marks Yom Hazikaron, the national day of remembrance for fallen soldiers and victims of terrorism.
“I met victims of trauma that would not share anything,” said Kimchy. The pain builds up inside the victims, “it’s like a poison. It kills you and eats you slowly. The other way is to open your heart, to open your mouth, to express and to share, and to do.”
Contending with his own deep loss, the son of a terror victim finds new meaning in life by helping others deal with their grief.
Nearly 13 years ago, a Ukrainian woman and her Palestinian husband drove a suicide bomber to Rishon Lezion, a city in central Israel. The suicide bomber entered a game club on the night of May 7, 2002, located on the third floor of a building, and detonated a suitcase full of explosives, complete with shrapnel and nails. Patrons at the club had been playing card games, slot machines and snooker as the explosion went off, causing part of the building to collapse.
Jacob Kimchy, profiled recently by The Algemeiner created One Heart in 2006, a non-profit organization that provides psychological and emotional support to child victims of terror and trauma.
Kimchy’s father Rami Kimchy, was killed in a terrorist attack in Rishon Letzion, Israel ten years ago in the midst of the second Intifada. Today he spoke with The Algemeiner about the experience of terror victims and their families, and their struggle to cope with trauma and loss.
Speaking of how he felt when first hearing of the attack in Bulgaria, Koby said it reminded him of his own traumatic experiences, “its really hard” he said, “I just spoke to my mother and I asked her how she feels, she said that its really hard for her as well.
She has already seen all the images of what happened and people crying. We always wish that after an attack anywhere around the world that it will be the last terrorist attack (to occur).”
“We feel a strong connection to the attack because we know what they went through” Koby shared, “The friends (of the victims and families) needs to provide a lot of support but also allow for (the mourner) to be alone.”
“The victims, will be reminded of the attack by any loud noise that they will hear, just walking on the street will be different for them now because it will remind them.”
Koby vividly remembers the period of mourning after the loss of his father, ”during the mourning period each family member and friend came to visit on seven consecutive days, to show up and bring food.” He also offered guidance for friends and family of the victims, ”Don’t say anything just be there, you can just say you’ll be there, that is the next step. Don’t offer professional help because it can be insulting.”
There are times when the victims or their families will need to be alone Koby said, “its an individual feeling for everything that happened… and it was a little hard for me to handle what happened. My mother’s house had hundreds of people visiting everyday for 30 days and only afterwards she was really able to cry. I was surrounded by helpers and supporters including family and friends in the community but I needed to be alone. I needed to be by myself but not completely alone.”
Via the Algemeiner.com
Naor Abutbul, a burly 17-year-old Israeli, wrestled with his emotions. Emotions had the upper hand.
The young man was sitting on a bench at a storefront museum called the Tribute WTC Visitor Center, across Liberty Street from where the twin towers used to stand. In front of him was a wall filled with faces of the 9/11 fallen, looking forever happy in photos taken when long life seemed a given. Naor kept his head down. He couldn’t bring himself to look at the faces.
“It’s hard,” he said in Hebrew. Asked why, all he could do was repeat, “It’s hard.”
Ten years later, images of Sept. 11, which form the core of the visitor center, remain tough for many people. Boxes of tissues are on benches there for a reason.
Naor was more burdened than most. So were his 11 companions, most younger than he, most strangers to one another. They had come to New York from five countries, but had one thing in common. Whether from Israel, Northern Ireland, France, Spain or Liberia, each had been scarred by terrorism.
Naor’s mother, Hadas Abutbul, was ambushed by Palestinian gunmen and killed as she drove in the West Bank. That was on Nov. 9, 2001. Naor noted that Nov. 9 is rendered 9/11 in most countries, Israel included.
Quentin Area-darses and Malou Anglade, both 16, came from Paris. While on a group tour in Cairo two years ago, they were wounded by bombs hurled into a crowded market. Quentin still has shrapnel in his right leg.
Alberto Sánchez, 13, has struggled to bounce back after his mother, Trinidá Sánchez, became one of 191 people killed in the 2004 bombings of commuter trains in Madrid.
Clare Mailey, 14, survived a pipe-bomb attack in Belfast a decade ago. Terry Hardy, 18, descends from a long line of victims of political and religious violence in Northern Ireland. His grandfather, an aunt, three uncles and three cousins were murdered. Though the chaos has subsided, Terry said, he still lives “in fear of something happening again.”
There they were, a quorum of horror.
They had been brought to New York by One Heart Global, a nonprofit organization that seeks to help victims of terrorism who have lasting physical and psychological scars. It was founded a few years ago by Sarri Singer, an American, and Jacob Kimchy, an Israeli.
Ms. Singer was on a bus in Jerusalem in 2003 when a Palestinian suicide bomber disguised as an Orthodox Jew blew himself up. Sixteen people around her were killed. Her wounds were confined largely to a split clavicle and a low hissing in one ear that persists to this day. For Mr. Kimchy, One Heart Global was a way to honor his father, Rami Kimchy, killed in a 2002 terrorist attack in Rishon LeZiyyon, Israel.
Theirs is a club no one would wish to join. But they felt it was needed, Ms. Singer said, because “time doesn’t always heal.” A bombing occurs, funerals are held, political leaders express outrage and sympathy, news gatherers send their reports — and then the world goes about its business. But the pain can endure.
The thinking behind the teenagers’ visit this week was that they might benefit from sharing their stories. That made sense to them. “People can understand the feeling and the pain that I have,” Malou Anglade said, “because they have experienced the same thing.”
Their stay in the city has included meetings with the police commissioner and with ambassadors to the United Nations from Israel and Ireland. There were also timeouts for shopping and for watching TV shows like “Family Guy.” Teenagers are teenagers, no matter what their circumstances.
INEVITABLY, there was the stop at ground zero. They were led by a guiding force behind the visitor center, Lee Ielpi, a retired firefighter whose firefighter son, Jonathan, died on Sept. 11. Only “nobody died from the terrorist attack,” Mr. Ielpi told them. “They were murdered.”
Like Naor, others in the group found it hard to put the nightmare of 9/11 in context with their own suffering.
“They carry the trauma, but don’t have the language to express it,” said Tricia Magee, who accompanied four teenagers from Northern Ireland. She is in charge of youth services at the Wave Trauma Center in Belfast.
“If you can’t get the words out, it can become a block, and be disruptive,” Ms. Magee said. “When you’re young, you think you’re the only one experiencing something like that.” Showing them that they are not alone, she said, can only do good.
Since September 2000, Israeli society has been subjected to numerous deadly terror attacks. Since then, several studies have examined the stress-related mental health symptoms and coping behaviors of surviving family members of these barbaric acts.
Indeed, research has revealed that people who experienced an attack directly showed elevated levels of distress, lowered sense of security, and pathological reactions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression.
Despite the psychological and emotional damage wrought by direct exposure to an act of terrorism, people such as Jacob Kimchy have channeled their unimaginable sorrow into the cause of a lifetime.
In 2002, Jacob’s father Rami Kimchy entered a nightclub in his hometown of Rishon Letzion to pick up a client. Rami was a dedicated family man and hardworking taxi driver. A few minutes after Rami had walked into the club, an 18-year-old Hamas suicide bomber entered it and blew himself up, killing Rami and 14 others instantly.
Jacob was one of the first to arrive at the grizzly scene, which he refers to as ‘the devil’s playground,’ hoping to help any survivors. Only later did Jacob notice his father’s taxi parked out front.
In one horrifying moment, Jacob realized that his father was murdered.
Yet, after many months of indescribable agony, Jacob slowly came to the realization that one way to carry on living with such unimaginable pain was by reaching out to other victims of terrorism. In time, this coping mechanism would flower into a life mission. Jacob would go on to establish One Heart, a non-profit organization that since 2006 has brought hundreds of children and adults together from around the world for Survivors’ Circles and summer camps.
Jacob is also a noted public speaker on the subject of surviving trauma and terrorism, having appeared at international conferences whose audiences included heads of state, governors, ministers of parliament, and mayors.
Now, Jacob is embarking on the next phase of his mission to bring a bit of healing to the long-suffering.
Jacob is in the final stages of completing his first book, written in loving memory of his father Rami. The book, ‘A New Sunrise,’ details Jacob’s harrowing yet inspirational journey.
Jacob’s book is to be self-published. As such, he has recently launched a campaign to raise money for ‘A New Sunrise.’
According to Jacob: “I have met countless people with powerful and unforgettable stories, each of whom gave me a piece of their strength to persevere in the name of justice and life. Through my own journey, I have learned that to be a victim of terrorism is to live every day with pain, longing, and loss. It is never over. But I have also learned there is a light for each of us to step into, no matter what… Each person can find their new sunrise, but sometimes we need help to get there. My mission in life is to be that help for as many people as I can. That is my father’s legacy.”
You can learn more about Jacob Kimchy’s motivation behind writing ‘A New Sunrise’ in this short YouTube clip.