The Power of Resilience
Change: the act or instance of making or becoming different. Change can be wonderful. Change can be terrifying. Change can be exciting, but change is never easy. Whether we want it to happen or not, change doesn’t happen in the blink of an eye. It takes time and effort. I learned this lesson when I decided to start a new position for my temple’s USY (United Synagogue Youth) board. Last spring, I began to think that our board was missing something. We had every position from Israel Affairs to Social Action but I still felt like it was incomplete. After a little while I realized what was wrong: there was no Gender Equality position!
I decided to talk to our advisor and work with her to make this position a reality. I am now happy to say that it’s been established! It was not too hard to convince my advisor that this position was necessary, and soon enough the Gender Equality position was official. However, it isn’t necessarily successful yet. I may have been effective in establishing the position, but I haven’t been entirely successful in this new role. Like I said, change does not come easily. I have planned a “Powerful Jewish Women’s Night” for the temple, but I’ll admit that it has yet to be put on the calendar. I can think of a lot of reasons why this event has not happened yet, and that’s okay; I was expecting a slow start. I was not expecting the end of the patriarchy to be handed to me on a silver platter.
Trust me, when it seems like none of your plans are working out, it’s hard to keep going. It may even seem like the universe is working against you, but in all honesty, it’s probably not. I’ve learned to stop blaming my surroundings and karma for my failures. I’ve decided to take on an “internal locus of control,” meaning I’ve realized that I control what happens in my life. When I start to feel like nothing is working out, I think: “Okay, Ariela, hold on. Do you really think that everybody is out to get you? Do you really think you’re just living a hell-like Truman Show?” I give myself a little reality check, pull myself together, and start to think about what I can do to change what is going wrong. These epiphanies don’t always come easily, or quickly, but I know that eventually they will help me achieve what I envision for this position.
I’ve found this outlook to be important in other instances too, like dealing with my mother’s passing. When I was nine years old I lost my mother to pancreatic cancer. While this was heartbreaking and devastating, I was not going to let it control my life, and neither was my family. Instead of living a life of grief, my family and I decided to start a memorial fund in my mother’s name to raise awareness and money for pancreatic cancer research. Together we thought: “What can we do to make this better?” Of course I didn’t wake up the next day feeling like I just won the lottery, but slowly and surely, through my actions, I was able to overcome that hurdle that was thrown at me. Through this experience, I learned that one of the main keys to my success in the future would be resilience.
When I go to college next year, I will have to be resilient. When I want to work my way into the fashion advertising world, I will have to be resilient. When I want to combat misogyny and injustice, I will have to be resilient. As a feminist, I have found that resilience is characteristic of strong women. Through this strength, we can show that we’re here to fight injustice and don’t intend on backing down. Feminists have been resilient for decades. The feminist elasticity and ability to persevere even in the face of injustice and hatred has been essential to the movement’s strength. Resilience is what makes the feminist movement go round, so let's embrace it!
This piece was written as part of JWA’s Rising Voices Fellowship.
How to cite this page
Bickel, Ariela. "The Power of Resilience." 27 April 2016. Jewish Women's Archive. (Viewed on September 15, 2019) <https://jwa.org/blog/risingvoices/power-of-resilience>.