Since October 7, we can no longer find the words. We find ourselves repeatedly engulfed with grief, pain, and confusion in the face of the most challenging period we have known since the establishment of the State of Israel.
In the search for consolation and for our lost words, we approached women and men from the fields of the humanities, culture, and community and asked them about the Jewish-Israeli words that give them strength in these difficult times.
We called this initiative “Ruach Chayim” Spirit of Life, out of the hope that it can restore, even partially, the spirit and inner strength so needed now by Israeli society.

“The Ever-Dying People”?

I am a Jew despite the Shoah, not because of the Shoah. I am a Jew despite October 7, certainly not because of October 7″. For Dr. Zohar Raviv, the International VP of Educational Strategy at Taglit-Birthright Israel, the enormous tragedy we have experienced is an opportunity to redefine our Jewish identity.

Because of the Spirit

Since the outbreak of the war, we have become accustomed to bad news. We are swept up in an ongoing storm that has extended beyond the battlefield and pervaded the social field and the economic arena, all of which together pose a severe challenge and may weaken our spirit. It is impossible to ignore the ominous threats and potential scenarios we face but Dr. Aliza Bloch, mayor of Beit Shemesh, proposes a way to contend with them and forge ahead with optimism.

There are Noble Deeds

This is a long, never-ending period of sorrow, worry and despondency – both personal and national. Even now, we still frequently find ourselves devoid of words or hope. When we met with the author Haim Be’er, he showed us words written by Yosef Haim Brenner who, although famously being one of the most depressed authors of the Second Aliya period, is specifically the one to indicate the source of hope, enabling us, even today, to raise our head once more.

Her Look Shone

Our heart has been broken again and again and again. Where can we find consolation while surrounded by so much pain? Rabbi Yirmi Stavisky, principal and teacher at Himmelfarb High School, has lost his son-in-law Yinon Fleischman and five of the school’s alumni during the war. He draws comfort from love and from the words of Viktor Frankl.

They are Still Human

Eight days after Nazi Germany invaded Poland, Lea Goldberg sent a letter to the newspaper. At the height of the drama and amidst the reports that began to arrive from the front, it was important for Goldberg to answer the question so many people were asking: why don’t you write about the war? Noa Manheim tells us about that moving letter which has accompanied her since the outbreak of the war.

Approached the Fog

Since October 7, we are all in a kind of dense fog. Yair Agmon has chosen the words of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov who proposes that we relate differently to the fog and sets us a (possibly) impossible mission.

What Else can We Ask for?

What would the world look like if it were led by women and mothers? This is always a pertinent question, but especially so during wartime. Dr. Osnat Levtzion-Korach, General Director of the Shamir Medical Center (Assaf Harofeh), chose two short passages that clarify the viewpoint and role of women and mothers.

Hope for the Lord

“This sentence just jumped out at me from the long text and all the poems”. Revital Vitelzon Jacobs tells of a bracelet she bought herself just before the war, on the inside of which she engraved a short sentence that gives her strength in the most difficult moments.

Enable our Hearts

We are not the same people anymore. Although life continues, and on the day after the war most of us will probably return to a familiar routine, the same job and home – something has changed internally. Eli Pollak, CEO of United Hatzalah, has chosen words that express our aspiration for change following this traumatic crisis.

Shema Israel

One of the numerous new stories of heroism which have emerged since October 7 has become a source of inspiration for Rabbi Tamar Elad-Applebaum. She tells us of a very familiar verse that has now received new, painful but uplifting meaning that instills hope and life.

In your Blood, Live

Reality changed after October 7, along with our thoughts and their meanings, our fears and hopes. Jacky Levy has found new meaning in a familiar biblical verse that symbolizes the special strength of Israeli society.

Is it true

Lea Goldberg died over 50 years ago and yet one of her poems speaks to us as if it were written about the black Saturday of October 2023. The poet Alex Rif, CEO of the ‘One Million Lobby’, chose to share with us a special section from one of Lea Goldberg’s poems which has received new meaning.