The latest war in Israel has been the deadliest event for Jewish people since the Holocaust. Each day since, we wake up to a rising death toll and to searches for missing loved ones. The killing, torturing, kidnapping, and raping of innocent civilians is an evil that is so difficult to comprehend that it almost doesn’t seem real—yet we see the terrorism happening before our own eyes.
Whether we’re currently in Israel or in the Diaspora, the Jewish heart is connected. We ache together. The emotions come in waves: shock, fear, anger, pain, helplessness. Maybe you feel like you don’t have a safe space to process or grieve. Many of us are left asking, How do I process this? What can I do to make things better? Here are a few things we’re trying:
1. Praying is doing something.
Whether by yourself or in a group, take intentional time to pray. It’s powerful. God has sustained our people through countless atrocities, and He remains faithful in this one. King David was well versed in war, in hardship, and even in hiding out from hate-fueled violence. Reading his words in the Psalms is relatable and can be comforting when few other things are. Psalm 20 and Psalm 121 are a couple of good ones to meditate on.
2. Feel the feelings.
It’s hard to focus. It’s easy to get overwhelmed. It’s absolutely normal to find it hard to sleep (or to get up in the morning), participate in normal activities, or keep from crying in public. Suppressing, ignoring, or over-regulating our emotions doesn’t work. Give yourself permission to feel what you feel. Full stop. Have grace for yourself and others—we may get less done at work or around our homes, we may have zero social battery, or find ourselves overreacting to minor problems. That’s how shock works.
3. Process freely with a safe person.
Our feelings need an outlet. It can be hard to find a safe space for that, especially when horrific violence in Israel is making Jewish people around the world fear for their safety. Even well-intentioned friends can be hard to open up to to process our thoughts. It’s key to find a place where you feel seen, understood, and free from the responsibility of qualifying or filtering everything you say for fear of being misunderstood or launched into an undesired political conversation. Find a non-judgmental friend, let it out in a journal, or email an understanding ear at email@example.com. In turn, be that safe space for others as you have bandwidth.
4. Take care of yourself and others.
This is heavy. There’s a reason we get exhausted from carrying the weight of it. Slow down and listen to your body, your spirit, and your mind. What would help you refocus and refill? Cancel and make plans as needed. Text a friend to check in on how they’re doing too. A little thoughtfulness can have a lasting impact, combat isolation, and build trust.
This is heavy. There’s a reason we get exhausted from carrying the weight of it.
5. Consume social media wisely.
Instead of mindlessly opening Instagram, think before you click: What do I want to get out of this today? Sometimes it can be a helpful outlet to share our thoughts, experiences, and personal beliefs. At other times, it can simply provide an onslaught of triggering material that saturates our feeds and leaves us shell shocked, disgusted, and depleted. Allowing ourselves to be traumatized by the documentation of atrocities doesn’t help those experiencing it. Instead, focus on sources that provide credible information from the ground, connect with the people you trust, and know when to just turn off your phone altogether.
6. Speak truth to friends willing to listen.
The world is paying attention right now. Many non-Jewish people, some for the first time, are growing in their awareness of issues we’ve long been (painfully) aware of. How can we use this moment to be a voice for the Jewish community to potential non-Jewish allies? How can we speak up with wisdom and truth, and stand for justice, peace, and understanding in our circle of influence? Let’s remember: this isn’t simply political—it’s personal. It’s not a faraway reality; it’s affecting Jewish people everywhere, right now. Make it accessible—tell your story and how this tragedy is affecting you. The right people will listen.
7. Serve other people.
There are tangible ways we can show up to help, even if we’re far away. Check in with local Jewish congregations and community centers for opportunities to help. Send support to United Hatzalah (first responders), Magen David Adom (Israel’s version of Red Cross), or Sar-El (coordinates volunteers), or Zaka (search and rescue) to help those suffering on the ground in Israel.
As the situation shifts daily and we all figure out how to process this together, let’s remember: we’re a people of hope. We know our God is faithful, keeping His promises to His people from generation to generation, through victory and through tragedy.
I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. (Psalm 121:1–4)