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.
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.
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.
With the birth of the State of Israel, over 850,000 Jews were forced to leave the Arab and Islamic world. In Yemen, however, this was not the first time a mass immigration to Israel had taken place. More than three decades earlier, with the help of a young man named Shmuel Yavnieli, over 1,500 Yemenite Jews started their own journey to the Land of Israel, and embarked on a voyage largely untold…
Amidst the horrors of war, it is common for children to find some solace through artistic endeavors. But in an astounding discovery, we’ve also now seen that there is a clear connection between the art made by children during the Holocaust and the art created by the children witnessing the current war in Israel and Gaza. Why is this the case, and what can it teach us about the experiences of children witnessing the slaughter of their people, 80 years apart?
Israel has been at war since October 7, 2023. The darkness of these days cannot be overstated, but at the same time the most miraculous of things have been occurring all the while: as life collapsed around us, people rose up and came together in the most amazing ways. Israel is a country like no other – a land full of upstanding people who truly exemplify what kindness really means.
Over the last two weeks of war, IDF soldiers have been defending Israel with the utmost courage and heroism. But while many troops fight to protect Israel directly from the battlefield, most soldiers actually serve the State of Israel in a plethora of other integral ways: within the IDF, an entire world exists beyond the front lines…
For the community of Nahal Oz on the Israel-Gaza border, the events of the past few days have had a shocking, shattering effect. For decades, life in this region was often calm, restful and full of the wonders of nature, despite the ever-present dangers. The people of the border region are strong and resilient, and will prevail through this challenging time, as they have done so many times before.
Kreplach are small dumplings made with minced meat, chopped vegetables, and often a layer of cabbage leaf… and no one likes them! So why do we eat these little dumplings each Sukkot? Where did the tradition come from? And is it really important enough to ruin our chicken soup for?
As Yom Kippur draws to a close, a nostalgic tune is sung in Ashkenazi synagogues around the world. While many Jews recognize this tune, most do not know that it was actually composed for Napoleon Bonaparte himself. So how did a Napoleonic marching tune make its way into our neilah prayer service?