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Israeli Independence Day

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Israel, 1948: Vidal Sassoon in Combat

Not long before becoming the world’s most famous hairstylist and building a business empire, Sassoon fought for Israeli independence. He lost friends, gained confidence, went weeks without a shower, and literally never learned the Hebrew word for ‘retreat’…

Israeli Memorial Day

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Freedom Under Siege: The Last Seder in Kfar Etzion

How can one celebrate the festival of freedom, with the clear knowledge that your life or liberty will be taken from you in just a few days? The Seder night of 1948 was one of the last nights of freedom for those in besieged Gush Etzion, but this fact did not prevent the isolated group of men from creating the most celebratory atmosphere possible under the circumstances.

Yom HaZikaron: A Light in the Darkness

Memorial candles are woven into all aspects of Yom HaZikaron: lit during public ceremonies, by bereaved families at gravesides on Har Hertzl, and of course in homes up and down the country. But why do we use a candle to commemorate the fallen heroes of Israel? What inspires us to shed light in a day full of darkness?

Life on the Border: A Tribute to the Communities of the Gaza Border Region

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Nir Oz Will Blossom Again: The Story of a Legendary Kibbutz Gardener

In the early days, members of Kibbutz Nir Oz suffered from terrible sandstorms that made it difficult to move, see and even eat. Ran Pauker, the kibbutz’s legendary landscaper, was called to solve the problem, and along the way, Nir Oz became a green, ecological gem. When asked about the future of the kibbutz that suffered a fatal blow on October 7 – he says the vegetation will be restored within a year, as for the community: “We’ll have to wait and see”

We Shall Return: The Spirit of Kibbutz Nirim Will Prevail

“We shall return” – these were the words printed in Hebrew on t-shirts made by the survivors of Kibbutz Nirim. These words embody a history of heroism, pioneering, culture and Zionism which should serve as a model for all of us. Kibbutz Nirim, founded in 1946, faced a desperate battle for its very existence just two years afterwards. It survived then and survives now thanks to the unique spirit of its members.

The Man Who’s Been Documenting the People of Ofakim Since October 7

Nadav Mishali founded the cinematheque in the southern Israeli city of Ofakim. His personal story is bound up with that of the city itself and its brave and exceptional residents. Mishali has now taken on an even bigger mission – to document the stories of hardship and heroism that took place in Ofakim on Saturday, October 7, 2023

Refugees in Their Own Land: The Children of Yad Mordechai Leave Their Homes

After spending long hours hiding in their safe rooms, with the local civilian security team and members of the Border Guard bravely fighting armed terrorists seeking to break into the kibbutz, the residents of Yad Mordechai were evacuated from their homes until further notice. Many might describe this as a “once in a lifetime” experience – but for some kibbutz veterans, this was not the first time they left their home behind without knowing when, or if, they would ever return.

Forced to Leave His Home in Nir Am as a 3-Year-Old, and Again at Age 78

In 1948, 3-year-old Yigal Cohen was smuggled out of Kibbutz Nir Am at the outbreak of the War of Independence. He later returned to the kibbutz, grew up, and started a family. 75 years later, on October 7, the kibbutz was attacked again. Residents evacuated, among them 78-year-old Yigal, who was doing this for the second time in his life…

History of Israel

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Avshalom Feinberg: A Spy With a Poetic Soul

Avshalom Feinberg is known for being among the founders of the “Nili” organization, but as it turns out, even before the Jewish spy ring was established, he was already active in politics and managed to capture the hearts of women, well-known cultural figures and scientists. There is no telling who he could have become were it not for his tragic death at 27

Children of Heroes: The Story of Ma’ale HaHamisha

Is it a good idea to raise children in a place constantly under enemy fire? How much joy can there be for a ten-month-old baby whose father has died for a cause? This is a story of childhood spent in Kibbutz Ma’ale HaHamisha – a story of love, laughter and dedication, alongside constant threat and loss

The Jewish WWI Soldiers Who Fought in Gaza in 1917

During the First World War, the British Army waged three bloody battles to capture the city of Gaza from the Ottoman Turks. Many of the soldiers who fell were buried in the British Gaza War Cemetery, and among them were Jews with names such as Morris, Wilfrid and Hyman. We set out on a journey to share their stories.

The Emotional Resonance of Music During War

Throughout Israeli history, music has been utilized to calm the chaos of war and make sense of tragedy. When words can’t quite get it right, music often can. As we deep-dive into four of Israel’s most famous wartime tunes, we can start to understand why music is just so important to our dear country, especially during dark days such as these.

Judaism

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The Story of a Nation That Redeems Its Captives

From Abraham who saved his nephew from captivity, to IDF helicopters carrying Israeli hostages back from Gaza – for thousands of years, Jews have fought, paid any sum necessary, and even endangered their lives to redeem and save their brethren from captivity and imprisonment

Prayer’s Light in Wartime’s Darkness

Since the horrific events of October 7 and the subsequent war, a large chorus of voices have turned to the heavens, hoping to deal with their pain and confusion by praying to a higher power. This has been a typical Jewish response to war since biblical times, and continues into the modern age. Let’s explore some of these powerful wartime prayers, and find out where they truly come from.

Embracing the Light of Hanukkah

Jewish pride is exemplified annually in the tradition of lighting the hanukkiah candles, but the Hanukkah story itself is actually full of themes of concealment and hiddenness. So why is Hanukkah celebrated with this self-confident display of our Judaism and why is this practice so very important, especially in dark times like these, when Hanukkah will be celebrated amidst a backdrop of Jewish suffering and war.

The Mysterious Case of Joseph G. Weiss’s Hasidic Library

Prof. Joseph G. Weiss was one of the 20th century’s leading scholars of Hasidism. Following Weiss’s tragic death in 1969, his mentor Gershom Scholem selected 250 books from his former student’s personal collection to be brought to the National Library in Jerusalem. Yet something happened along the way. To this day it’s not clear what became of many of these books…

IDF

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The State’s Watchful Guardians: Female Field Observers on the Border

IDF field observer war rooms are spread across Israel’s borders, working 24/7. The soldiers and officers who operate the systems contained within know that the security of their entire sector often depends on their judgment calls. On October 7, dozens of field observers were killed by Hamas terrorists who broke into Israeli army outposts. This is the story of the IDF’s field observers – the eyes that protect Israel’s borders.