Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Four members of my husband’s family, himself included, are named Yitzchak (after their maternal grandfather). It’s a powerful name; to carry with you the reminder to laugh, the invitation to laugh, even when, or especially when, you may not feel you want to or you’re able to.

Over these past few weeks, with the loss of so many lives and the fates of so many others unknown, it’s been a challenge and struggle to laugh. To give ourselves permission to experience joy. I recently attended a fundraiser comedy event at my shul, the name of which encapsulated this experience – “When can we laugh again?”


I’m amazed by, and in awe of, the footage I’ve seen coming out of Israel which includes so much joy and laughter – the birth of a new life, singing and dancing, and weddings (with the attendees, including the chatan, wearing full combat gear).

Yitzchak means he will laugh, in the future tense. It’s aspirational. Somehow, one day, we will be able to find a way to laugh in spite of the pain.

When can we laugh again? I wish I knew.

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Anat Coleman is the Director of Strategic and Community Initiatives at the Jewish Community Council of Washington Heights, and a board member of The Beis Community.