At a time when we tend to consume news that is packaged, filtered, sometimes theoretical, or even hypothetical, we should take a step back. One thing that we really need, and what our learners need, is to hear authentic voices, the words and experiences of those on the ground.
The iCenter is compiling interviews, conversations, and stories that bring forth the voices of different sectors of Israeli society, their experiences, their struggles, and their hopes during this immensely difficult and pivotal moment.
November 8, 2023 | 9 min 55 sec
In the aftermath of October 7th, dozens of Israel’s leading wordsmiths—authors, poets, playwrights, bloggers, and journalists—volunteered to write eulogies for the 100+ members of Kibbutz Be’eri who were murdered. Among them was Agi Mishol, one of Israel’s most prominent, beloved and widely-read poets.
October 29, 2023 | 11 min 55 sec
Two days after the attacks, Tomer Oshri—a 48-year-old history teacher and principal from Jerusalem—called up the Israeli Ministry of Education and asked how he could help. They told him to pack a sleeping bag and head down to the Dead Sea. When he arrived, he began the work of setting up and operating 17 different makeshift schools for survivors and residents of the displaced Gaza border communities.
October 23, 2023
When Hamas attacked Israel, Yoni Heilman, the CEO of the TAMID Group and an American oleh (immigrant), joined hundreds of thousands of Israelis who were called up to reserve service in the IDF. Sapir will be publishing weekly updates for as long as Yoni continues to write.
October 23, 2023 | 14 min 52 sec
The beloved musician has given over 50 concerts since the start of the war—in hotel lobbies, army bases, bomb shelters, kibbutz lawns, and even at the brit of a baby from Kfar Aza.
October 19, 2023 | 16 min 24 sec
During this dark time, Israeli civil society has risen to the occasion. Hedai Offaim—a chef, farmer, and social entrepreneur—has transformed his café into a relief kitchen where 750 volunteers prepare more than 10,000 nutritious meals a day for evacuated communities, families in mourning, families of hostages, and reservists.
October 22, 2023 | 13 min 16 sec
At age 50, Itai Kramer is no longer obligated to serve in the reserve forces, yet he volunteered anyway. Itai tells us about what went through his mind when he decided to drop everything and put on his uniform.
October 22, 2023 | 2 min 31 sec
In Jerusalem, thousands of volunteers are rising to the challenge of meeting the needs of displaced residents of the south, including providing clothes, medications, food, baby products, emotional support, and more.
October 23, 2023
Adopt-A-Safta is working tirelessly to help combat isolation amongst the elderly in Israel, many of whom are Holocaust survivors. Their work is especially vital during this difficult time.
October 19, 2023
Youssef Ziadna drove into the site of the Nova dance party while it was still under attack, filled his minivan to beyond capacity, and made an escape off-roading using his knowledge of the terrain. Ziadna is still dealing with the trauma of the experience.
November 6, 2023| 14 min 58 sec
Louish Rijal was part of a group of Nepali students who had been accepted to an 11-month-long internship at the Sedot Negev Agricultural Training Center. He had never left Nepal before and knew very little about Israel. The students arrived on September 13th, just three and a half weeks before the attack. On October 7th, ten of Louish’s friends were killed and one was kidnapped into Gaza. This interview took place just hours after Louish landed back in Nepal.
Content Warning: Includes descriptions of the violent events of October 7 as they unfolded.
October 24, 2023 | 19 min 49 sec
Content Warning: Sivan details what he saw and experienced when he raced to rescue his 18-year-old son from the massacre at the Nova Music Festival.
October 22, 2023| 17 min 35 sec
Born and raised on Kibbutz Be’eri, Yarnin and his family enjoyed the routine of life on the kibbutz. He describes the day leading up to October 7 and the way he experienced the attack unfold.
Content Warning: Yarnin details surviving the horrific attack on Kibbutz Be’eri and receiving lists of friends and family both kidnapped and murdered.
October 19, 2023 | 31 min 31 sec
Rabbi Avi Dabush, CEO of Rabbis for Human Rights, and Kibbutz Nirim member, recounts the 8 hours he spent in his shelter with his family on October 7 during the Hamas onslaught and the efforts to rebuild Kibbutz Nirim.
Content Warning: Includes descriptions of what Avi witnessed.
October 17, 2023 | 18 min 33 sec
Almog Senior recounts his experience from the Nova Music Festival on October 7.
October 15, 2023 | 51 sec
Volunteers rescue abandoned animals, wild animals, farm animals, and pets, from kibbutzim that were attacked by Hamas.
This website stands as a testament to the unwavering spirit of survivors who bear witness to the unspeakable terrors of October 7, horrors that continue to haunt the hearts and minds of countless souls across the land of Israel.
Content Warning: Graphic content.
October 16, 2023
Before the rampage, more than 5,000 Thais worked in Israeli agriculture near Gaza. More than 20 were killed by Hamas—and the ones who got away try to survive a cruel reality.
October 19, 2023 | 14 min 50 sec
This war has forced many people to reevaluate their identities and political sensibilities—not an easy task during these shocking and painful days. Mor Maisel’s opinions are complicated and don’t conform to the norm, which may be challenging for some listeners, and reassuring for others.
Eliana Sagarin, a Tel Avivian born in Chicago shares details about life in the city during rocket attacks, people singing the Israeli anthem from their balconies at night, and whether or not people still go about their social lives.
October 15, 2023 | 12 min 35 sec
Despite everything, life continues amid the horror. For Katherine Leff, this meant going ahead with the day she’d been dreaming about for so long—her wedding day.
October 11, 2023 | 41 min 17 sec
Voice messages from friends and colleagues in Israel offer a window into their experiences in this unprecedented moment of uncertainty, pain, loss, and resilience.
October 12, 2023 | 7 min 17 sec
Becky Kupchan Berkman, a mother originally from Skokie (and also a member of The iCenter community), describes her initial response to the news on October 7 and what life is like in Israel during the ongoing war. She also provides context in terms of how Israel’s homes are built with shelters due to the realities in the region.
October 13, 2023 | 7 min 9 sec
Nathan Schacter grew up in West Hartford and graduated from UConn. He’s now living in Israel and working for the Jewish Agency for Israel. He talked to reporter Dennis House from Jerusalem about living in Israel during these difficult times, where he was when the Hamas attacks began and his future.
October 23, 2023
A Times of Israel journalist joins other musicians to bring a relaxed evening of song to reservists, in the surreal reality of post-October 7.
October 12, 2023 | 13 min 30 sec
Karina Ariev, a 19-year-old corporal, was stationed at the Nahal Oz military base on the border with Gaza. Her family hasn’t heard from her since the morning of Saturday, October 7, when she was—most likely—abducted to Gaza. Karina’s sister, Sasha, shares what life has been like since that fateful day.
Content Warning: Sasha details her last correspondence with her sister before she was kidnapped.
This initiative has collected stories from all of those who were kidnapped by Hamas. Their goal is the safe and immediate return of the hostages, already thousands have joined the movement by hanging photos of the hostages in dozens of cities around the world.