The truth is, we are used to difficult times in Israel. In the 28 years I’ve been living here, Israel has gone through the second intifada, four wars, a stabbing spree, and so many missile attacks and close shaves it’s impossible to count.

And the people here absorb these crises, one by one, bouncing back with quite extraordinary resiliency.

The corona crisis is something entirely different, however. It is asking us to do something quite out of character. It is separating us from the very people who in other times of stress are there to help us through – our family, our friends, our neighbors, our community.

Instead we are locked away from them in our homes, sometimes alone, often lonely and fearful, relying on telephone calls and Zoom meetings for a chance to speak to or see the people we love. Unsure when — or, in our most vulnerable moments, even if — we might be able to hug them close again.

And this time it’s not just Israel. The entire world is experiencing a crisis in a proportion that hasn’t been seen since the Second World War. There are so many people suffering, so many jobs lost, so many ill, so many people parted from loved ones.

And the worst part is, we have no idea when this will end.

In these dark times, positive stories are more important than ever. It’s too easy to get lost in the terrible statistics, the constant feed of frightening news.

But there are other stories to be told, too.

The Azrieli Center in Tel Aviv was lit up last Friday night with the central prayer of the Jewish faith, Shema Yisrael … “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.” The Shema is meant to be said aloud, as if to say “Listen up, Israel…, act, create change.” Photo by Micha Mitch Danzig

Stories of compassion – of people helping each other against the odds, of musicians bringing concerts to rooftops, or everyday people going out of their way to help save lives.

There are stories of generosity, both on the personal level and of companies handing over patents to help others make vital lifesaving equipment, or countries and NGOs sending aid to others in distress.

And there are stories of people working around the clock to develop extraordinary technologies in an effort to combat COVID-19, to protect us from catching it, to make our lives in isolation better and easier. Or experts sharing advice that will help us through.

These are the stories we tell.

These are the stories that give us all hope, the stories that will help us be resilient.

Since we were founded in 2001, it has always been our mission to look on the bright side, to share the kind of stories that other publications do not normally tell.

Now, more than ever, these stories are vital. And we will bring them to you not just in our regular pages and weekly bulletins, but also in our special new in-depth newsletters.

We are all in this together.

The staff at ISRAEL21c are just like you. We are stuck in our homes, we are separated – sometimes across continents — from elderly parents, from our children. We have relatives and friends who have lost their jobs or who are fighting coronavirus.

But that isn’t going to stop us from searching out and sharing the best and brightest stories with you.

We wish you all well. We wish you happy holidays. We wish you health and strength and resiliency.

Together we are going to get through this, and we will celebrate all the wonder of humanity along the way.