Being the best you can be

Empowering others to become the best they can be is a Biblical precept and the nuclear essence of all inspiration. It is also the epitome of Israeli American comedienne, Molly Livingstone.   

It was in 2005, after returning from a youth trip to Israel that Molly decided to leave the comfort of Boston and immigrate. Her homecoming happened at breakneck speed. Once back in Israel, she plunged herself into studying journalism and three weeks later met David, an archeologist, who became the love of her life. Without the gift of foresight, the young couple arranged their future wedding day during what would become the Second Lebanon War. But Molly, an eternal optimist says that even the Hizbollah bombs were not enough to deter what was to become a very happy celebration. 

On the first ever English-speaking radio station in Israel, Molly was a central presenter. Interviewing Israelis from all segments of society, with her quick-witted humor and speaking her mind, she hosted a popular program. Monolingual Anglo-Israeli immigrants would wait impatiently to tune in for some light relief in a language that they understood. Listening to shows in their mother tongue, many of them no longer felt quite so odd or lost in a society where the native-born Israeli expects every and any Jewish baby to pop out of the womb already speaking fluent Hebrew. 

The radio show was the ticket for her to go on and perform stand-up comedy in packed-out clubs and bars throughout Israel. Like all good humorists, Molly used the platform to tell of her own struggles in what is  sometimes an unforgiving land. Her edgy, self-deprecating and often sacrilegious humor, gave people permission to laugh at themselves. Her audiences saw their own difficulties in a different light. They left not only having seen a wonderful show but also empowered to stick things out.  

With the outbreak of the pandemic, a new-born in her arms, and three other under nine-year olds not going to school, the performances came to an end. But although the regular routine may have stopped, Molly’s inherent desire to empower others did not.  As many a parent will know, keeping little children busy in a confined space for months on end, is a miracle that matches the parting of the Red Sea.  In these testing times, for Molly it wasn’t just about how to keep the children occupied. It was about empowering them to look beyond their own struggles so they could become the best they could be.

Following his mother’s example of a life spent on trying to help those in need, her oldest son Amichai came up with his own idea of helping those who struggled. Inquisitive, deeply sensitive, a keen chess-player and a boy with a vivid imagination, Amichai is also an extraordinary artist. His landscapes drawings are detailed to the last blade of grass, and his understanding of perspective is that of an adult artist. 

Albeit a cliche, it is nevertheless a truism that in darkness light shines the brightest. And Amichai is a bright little spark because he sold his paintings and donated the proceeds to the poor and in doing so, turned his frustrations into a blessing for others. And at just a few shekels a masterpiece, those lucky enough to buy one, knew it was the deal of the century!  

For Molly, it was never just about comedy, or keeping the kids busy, it was, and is, always about inspiring whoever she meets to be the very best they can be.