“For how can I bear to see the evil which is happening to [me and] my people, and I can bear to see the eradication of my kindred?”
—Queen Esther

My name is Hadassah Chavivah Zeltzer, aka Kimmie Zeltzer. In my everyday life, I use my Hebrew name Hadassah Chavivah because when I was a little girl in Hebrew school, I was taught that my Hebrew name has great spiritual significance and that it could be a window into a person’s soul and character. It could also be a compass for genuinely actualizing a person’s true potential in this world.

Why I Share

I wanted my story to be told so that my life would have not been in vain, nor the lives of others, whether they are Jewish or not, who have experienced similar misfortunes. So I am writing today as an act of making meaning out of my personal suffering, and the suffering of those who are the closest to me, as well as the many other men and women who have suffered similarly. The same systemic issues and intersectionality have kept all of us locked out from a reasonable chance to access the quality support which would afford us the humanity and dignity to build and create a meaningful and quality life.

Because of the personal traumas of my past and my overall disappointment and hurt with the mental health system, I  became very defiant as a defense to protect myself so I would never be hurt again. I resided in a world of fantasy and leaned extremely heavily on the God I was taught about in Hebrew school, who would be there for me even if everyone else around me failed or abandoned me.

Now that I am an older person, I realize that even with God by my side, I still have to act in a way that will create my own miracle and do all I can in the physical world. This will allow me to heal and reclaim my life. Then, if it is God’s will, I want to be in a position that will allow me the ability to support others with similar experiences.

Narrow and Confined Place Chavivah Zeltzer crayon maker paper 1980
“You Behind the Mask”/“A Narrow and Confined Place” (Art: Chavivah Zeltzer)
My drawing above is also called “Yosef” in honor of my father, Yosef ben Avrohom, and all those who are still suffering from the disparities of the broken mental health system who want and are earnestly seeking treatment, but because of the type of insurance they have cannot access it and are still suffering with no treatment to heal and have a life worth living.

Queen Esther’s Role

I started my post with a quote from one of my favorite Jewish heroines, Queen Esther. I only added the words “to me” to make it more personal to my story.

She is my role model and who I turned to for inspiration for my decision to share my story. I loved that she was willing to do the right thing, despite knowing that she was not guaranteed that her life would be spared.

I also believe the context of Queen Esther’s story is a true reflection of the experience I and so many men and women globally are still going through. We are barely living, existing at best.

The Need For Change

Even though I am doing my best to be brave and come out of hiding, I am earnestly terrified of what will really happen and become of me and the most vulnerable like me if things don’t change urgently.

My prayer and hope for this blog post’s impact is that God will use my writing and first-hand experience as a vehicle to open the floodgates of salvation for myself and all those who are suffering like me, hidden in plain sight or not so plain sight.

Queen Esther
Queen Esther artwork by Hadassah Chavivah Zeltzer (Courtesy image)

The image above is my interpretation of Pirkei Avot, Chapter 5, Number 27: “Be as strong as a leopard (she is wearing a leopard outfit), light as an eagle (she has feathers in her crown and the word Shema is hidden), swift as a stag (she has a ram’s horn as her staff and she uses Torah as her secret weapon, as opposed to a real sword) and mighty as a lion (on her shield; my brother’s name is also Ari) to do the will of your Father in heaven!”

“Light Amongst Darkness” by Hadassah Chavivah Zeltzer
“Light Amongst Darkness” by Hadassah Chavivah Zeltzer

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