Travels from Toronto
Topics:JNF's Work in Israel, Positively Israel
In 1970, when she was just 13-years-old, Lynda Fishman’s life was altered forever. An Air Canada plane travelling from Montreal to Los Angeles crashed in Toronto, Ontario – everyone died including Fishman’s mother and two younger sisters. The loss, of course, was devastating. Her father fell into a deep depression and she was essentially left to fend for herself.
Fishman recounts this terrible time - and the four decades since - in her moving book Repairing Rainbows: A True Story of Family, Tragedy and Choices. “One minute you thought that maybe, just maybe, you were going to be okay and the next minute you were overcome with anguish. Paralyzed. Out of nowhere would come a fresh flood of terror. A panic attack. Like a time bomb, ticking away silently and then exploding with a loud boom.”
She too could have fallen into despair, but instead, as she writes in her novel, “I chose life.”
The start of this story may be hard to hear, but the rest is truly inspiring. Fishman dedicated her life to learning, growing and making a difference. She was determined to find meaning and purpose in her life - to live a life that matters – and she did.
The trained clinical social worker and recently retired summer camp owner and director is now an inspirational speaker and facilitator. Having turned her wounds into wisdom, Fishman is committed to sharing her moving story, and all of the lessons she learned through the years.
Her messages fit perfectly with our core Jewish value, which is the importance of stepping in with acts of loving kindness and helping others who are dealing with challenges and difficulties. Responsible for one another, our purpose in life is to be kind, thoughtful, helpful and compassionate, making a difference in the lives of others.
Whether people are dealing with the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, loss of a marriage, loss of a home ... loss is loss. Somebody or something is gone, and it hurts.
When people are faced with loss, they must deal with the fears, doubts and despair, as they make choices about the future direction of their life. But the biggest decision anyone has to make is whether or not they are choosing LIFE. In her story, she illustrates the same choice she had to make over and over – the choice to live and to seeing the value in learning and growing from life’s most difficult moments and challenges.
A powerful speaker, Fishman tells her story and talks about her eight key strategies for people who want to CHOOSE LIFE over sadness, bitterness or feeling defeated – for people who want to choose to bounce back when life has knocked them down – for people who want to choose happiness and success. She emphasizes how you have to find a way to move forward, with all situations, and to love and have faith in G-d, and to truly believe that G-d is there for us no matter what we are faced with in life.
After hearing Fishman speak, you can’t help but be inspired and clear on the fact that how you respond to loss is a choice.
Fishman has incredible enthusiasm for life. She believes that life is precious and must be cherished. She has become an inspiration to thousands of others, and is proof that people can survive and even thrive after tragedy.
Download a prepared introduction for Lynda Fishman