Our Rabbi Ammi Hirsch is traveling in Israel during the war with Hamas as he seeks to express solidarity with Israelis, to learn and contribute, and to report back to you, conveying as much of what he sees as possible.
Dispatch #1: My First Day
Rabbi Ammi Hirsch reflects on his first day in Israel during the war with Hamas as he seeks to express solidarity with Israelis, to learn and contribute, and to report back to you, conveying as much of what he sees as possible.
Dispatch #2: Nova Survivor Ben Landau
Ben Landau tells our Rabbi Ammi Hirsch the incredible story of his surviving the Nova musical festival massacre in Re’im, Israel, on Oct. 7, 2023.
Dispatch #3: Gilad Korngold, Whose Family Is Held Hostage
Gilad Korngold speaks with Rabbi Hirsch about his family who are believed to be held hostage by Hamas and how the world changed on October 7, 2023.
Dispatch #4: Reut Karp, Whose Children Survived
Temporarily living in Eilat, Reut Karp flew up to Tel Aviv to speak with our Rabbi Ammi Hirsch because she wants the world to understand what happened to her family on Oct. 7. Hear how her three children were somehow spared — and what you can do to help.
Dispatch #5: Driving Out Darkness
Merhav Marpe, or “Healing Space,” is an all-volunteer effort helping the more than 4,000 survivors process the trauma of the Nova music festival massacre. Watch as Dr. Lia Naoir and her amazing team help these young people begin to piece their lives together and bring a little light back into their lives.
Dispatch #6: Feeding Israel's Soldiers
They may be too old for the army, but they’ve joined the fight. Sharon Kafri tells our Rabbi Ammi Hirsch how she and her husband posted just a few miles from Gaza, where they’re feeding up to 30,000 soldiers each day.
Dispatch #7: Ofek Hamias, Kfar Aza Survivor
Ofek Hamias was awakened on the morning of October 7 by rocket sirens. He looked at his phone in disbelief: surely the terrorists couldn’t have infiltrated. That’s when he heard the gunshots. Watch as he tells Rabbi Hirsch about that horrible day and how he and his mother survived — thanks in no small part to his dog Sunny.
Dispatch #8: Rachel Stelman, Who Lived
Part of her kibbutz’s civilian emergency response team, Rachel Stelman tells our Rabbi Ammi Hirsch how she fielded calls on October 7th from her trapped and wounded neighbors and coordinated rescue efforts — as she hid underneath a blanket in her safe room while two Hamas terrorists hunkered down in her home. She’s heartbroken that her peace-loving community was destroyed and frustrated that the rest of the world seems to be moving on so quickly…
Dispatch #9: Ilana Curiel, Who Has Hope
Ilana Curiel’s children grew up with Avigail, whose parents were murdered by Hamas before she was kidnapped to Gaza. This week Avigail will be turning four. It’s too painful for Ilana to think about what Avigail is going through, she tells our Rabbi Hirsch, but she hopes Avigail is not alone — and that she’ll be reunited with her surviving family soon so they can all celebrate her fourth birthday…
Dispatch #10: Batia Holin, Who Wants To Rebuild
Kfar Aza is the place Batia Holin loves most in the world, she tells our Rabbi Ammi Hirsch. It’s where she lived for 50 years, where she raised her children and where they brought their children to visit her. And on Oct. 7, it’s where Batia hid for nearly 24 hours while terrorists went door to door. Her story is the story of so many peace-loving Israelis whose lives have been upended and just want to rebuild…
Dispatch #11: Zohar Lerer Patkin, Who Put Others First
Zohar Lerer Patkin comes from a family of proud farmers who grow award-winning blueberries and strawberries on their farm inside the Gaza envelope. When the attack began on October 7th, the Israel Defense Forces evacuated her family, but not the hundreds of foreign agricultural workers who tend the fields. Zohar tells our Rabbi Hirsch how her family spared no effort to get them to safety.
Dispatch #12: Maoz Inon, Whose Doors Are Open
Both of Maoz Inon’s parents were murdered by Hamas terrorists who burned down their house — while they were still inside — on October 7th. Since then, the co-founder of Abraham Hostels tells our Rabbi Hirsch how he has opened his doors to house displaced Israelis without concern for if or how he’ll be paid. If you’d like to help support Maoz in his mission, visit: https://www.abraham.travel/group/donate/
Dispatch #13: Dr. Amit Frenkel, Who Saved Lives
Dr. Amit Frenkel, the director of Soroka Medical Center’s critical care outreach team, tells our Rabbi Ammi Hirsch that he woke up to the sounds of explosions and immediately came into the hospital before he was even called. Some 670 casualties were admitted in the first 24 hours after Hamas began its murderous spree — and many people are still alive today because of the dedication, love, attention and expertise of Soroka’s medical staff.
Dispatch #14: Nova Music Festival and Kibbutz Nir Oz
Rabbi Ammi Hirsch visits the sites of the Oct. 7 massacres at the Nova music festival and kibbutz Nir Oz. Warning: some viewers may find this video disturbing; viewer discretion is advised.
Dispatch #15: Brothers and Sisters in Arms (Part I)
When war broke out in Israel, Brothers and Sisters in Arms — an organization of men and women in the IDF reserves protesting the controversial judicial reform measures — completely changed course, pivoting to mobilize in support of the war effort. Shani Yossefon, one of Brothers and Sisters in Arms’ leaders, told our Rabbi Ammi Hirsch the organization’s story.
Dispatch #15: Brothers and Sisters in Arms (Part II)
When war broke out in Israel, Brothers and Sisters in Arms — an organization of men and women in the IDF reserves protesting the controversial judicial reform measures — completely changed course, pivoting to mobilize in support of the war effort. Dr. Karine Nahon, an information sciences professor, tells our Rabbi Ammi Hirsch how she dropped everything to create systems that help identify hostages and missing people from videos and public information.
Dispatch #16: See You in New York!
In this final dispatch, Rabbi Ammi Hirsch reflects on his time in Israel.