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Hope as a Survival Skill: Spirituality-Enhanced Resilience

jewish speaking

Pictures from Amy’s talk at a hebrew high school on faith, hope, spirituality and resilience

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As the granddaughter of holocaust survivors, I relied on my grandmother’s strength and spirit in order to survive, which inspired a spirituality-fueled resilience. Read my writings on spirituality here.

Spirituality Speaking Topics and Workshops:

 

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Spirituality-Inspired Art

Knowing how difficult it was for me to speak of my own abuse (especially after waking up from a coma months later),  I devised a program that combines Broadway theatre with sexual assault awareness and mental health advocacy, in order to empower survivors of assault and to create a more compassionate, open community.  I deliver this keynote to support groups, centers, colleges and universities, to promote mental health, provide hope, help, and save lives. My program aims to identify the strength and compassion of Judaism as a transformative healing tool for trauma survivors.  

My talk can also be divided into three components:

Part 1) A 70-minute one-woman autobiographical musical – Gutless & Grateful – a comedic yet poignant story on how I survived 27 stomach surgeries, organ failure, and sexual abuse. Through interwoven song and dialogue, I share a primal piece of live-storytelling – a powerful message that it’s possible for survivors become empowered by their own identity and secure in their choices.

Part 2) An educational session/speech where I discuss a compassionate approach to emotional well-being,  how to develop a resiliency toolbox, how to cultivate hope, foster understanding, build a supportive community, and be comfortable reaching out to a support system.  Individuals will learn tools for coming forward as survivors, as well as visible allies and leaders, guided by Jewish faith, spirituality and principles.

Part 3) A Q&A session to introduce survivors to sexual assault and wellness resources available to them and answer any questions they might have.

The program can also be followed by smaller workshops to continue building confidence and compassion through creative expression.

For reflections on Judaism and Faith:

Finding Faith in the ICU

Waiting for Miracles

Women of Faith

  • See references for the program here.
  • Learn about the Gutless & Grateful program here.

“Amy Oestreicher did an amazing presentation to a large group of Jewish high school students at a one night a week Hebrew High School meeting at Congregation B’nai Israel in Bridgeport, CT. The course title is Hope and Survival’ and was extremely fitting to her inspiring story.  Students felt comfortable enough to reach out to her after her talk, and she was a tremendous support and much-needed lift. “

-Carole Rubin, Professor at Mercaz Hebrew High School, Bridgeport, CT

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