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What Is It Like To Be A Widow In The Jewish State?

Israeli bureaucracy unmoved by plight of bereaved families

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Rachel Avraham with her late husband, Shachar z’l”. (Photo: Supplied)

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Last August, my world was turned upside down when my husband Shachar Avraham passed away at the age of 38, leaving me as a single mother of three children age 4 to 7 in a country where I did not have a single relative. 

I had made Aliyah on June 23rd, 2009 just to marry him, after meeting him during a one-year study abroad program at Ben-Gurion University in the Negev. 

Between 2009 and 2022, he together with the children were my entire life. And then, suddenly, I woke up on Tu B’Av, the Jewish Valentine’s Day, and he was gone.

People in Canada may ponder, what is it like to be a widow in the State of Israel? In the beginning, it was a major struggle. 

I did not have the code for the internet and I only figured it out because a girlfriend of mine guessed what it was. I had to buy a separate subscription for Disney Plus for the children, as our Disney Plus got cut off after the death. Many household items disappeared during the shiva, as relatives of my husband decided to make order on their own volition and never asked me if I wanted them to do it.  As a result, many things got displaced. Some things remain lost to this day.

Whenever I needed to install or fix something, life has become far more complicated. I had to get my brother-in-law to fix everything at home, as I had no husband to do it for me and had no clue how to do it myself. To make matters more difficult, the bank to date refuses to let me use the online banking application, as I share a bank account with a dead person and I cannot remove him until I get all of my compensation. 

It has been four months and I still did not get it. The bureaucracy moves super slow here.

And then of course, the children are completely traumatized, after seeing their father bleeding on the floor. However, so far, only therapy for my son who is causing problems in school is getting reimbursed by the state. My therapy and that of my other two children who don’t act out in school is not getting reimbursed thus far, thus causing me to spend thousands of shekels each month just on psychological treatment. Considering that I also had to pay a lawyer to speed up the inheritance process, it has been a major financial burden.

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In the beginning, I had to borrow money from my parents to survive, as it took time for me to get the money from Israel’s national insurance and the pension of my late husband.  It has also taken time to get the mortgage canceled. However, I froze the mortgage, so at least I would not have that financial burden. 

Although widows in Israel got many benefits compared to other countries, it takes a lot of time for them to bear the fruit of these benefits, as everything moves so slowly.

However, for me, the hardest part is going to bed alone at night in an empty room. It has an eerie feeling to it, as my husband passed away in that room. I always try to have two of my children sleep beside me, as it makes it easier to manage. I always get sad when they opt to sleep elsewhere. In order to soothe my depressed spirits, I bought two parrots, two rabbits and seven fish. Without them, being in my house would be unbearable.

At all times, I try to work as hard as possible, so that I do not have time to think. When I have time to think, I start to get depressed and it becomes a cycle where it is hard to function. But since I have small children, I tell myself that I simply must persevere. I have three children who need me. So, I try to stay busy and healthy for the sake of all of us. This is my situation as a widow in the State of Israel.    

Rachel Avraham is a political analyst working at the Safadi Center for International Diplomacy, Research, Public Relations and Human Rights.  She is the author of “Women and Jihad: Debating Palestinian Female Suicide Bombings at the American, Israeli and Arab Media.”  

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Thank you for choosing TheJ.Ca as your source for Canadian Jewish News.

We do news differently!

Our positioning as a Zionist News Media platform sets us apart from the rest. While other Canadian Jewish media are advocating increasingly biased progressive political and social agendas, TheJ.Ca is providing more and more readers with a welcome alternative and an ideological home.

We revealed the incursion of anti-Israel progressive elements such as IfNotNow into our communities. We have exposed the distorted hateful agenda of the “progressive” left political radicals who brought Linda Sarsour to our cities, and we were first to report on many disturbing incidents of Nazi-based hate towards Jews across Canada.

But we can’t do it alone. We need your HELP!

Our ability to thrive and grow in 2020 and beyond depends on the generosity of committed readers and supporters like you.

Monthly support is a great way to help us sustain our operations. We greatly appreciate any contributions you can make to support Jewish Journalism.

We thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy reading!

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