Many of us have spent the past few weeks “doom scrolling” through news and social media filled with painful stories. In this environment, it is all too easy to overlook the many inspiring and incredible moments that are also being shared.
In Israel, a true sense of unity that had been lacking before the war has emerged. Each week brings dozens of heartwarming stories of generosity, kindness, strength, and courage.
These stories are often shared via social media, showcasing the resilience and solidarity of Israelis and the broader Jewish community.
Here are just a few from the past week that are worth highlighting:
1. Resilience at Israeli weddings
As two Israeli brides celebrated their weddings in adjacent halls, an extraordinary moment unfolded. Amid rocket sirens from Gaza, they were filmed sharing a dance in a bomb shelter.
Despite the abrupt disruption, their friends and family were determined to keep the celebrations going. They continued to dance, transforming the bomb shelter into a space of Jewish joy.
The brides joined hands in the center in what Adam Albilya described on X as “a perfect showcase of Israeli resilience.” Watch this moment here:
2. A historic Jewish rally in D.C.
In the United States, a historic event took place as 300,000 people gathered in Washington D.C. for the largest Jewish rally in American history. Read our team’s recap of the rally.
The event was arranged in just a few days and was an inspiring display of support and solidarity with Israel by American Jews.
Among those in attendance were Rachel Goldberg, mother of Hersh Goldberg-Polin, a hostage, as well as prominent politicians and celebrities including Omer Adam and Matisyahu. In a moving parallel, there are also 300,000 reservists currently serving in the IDF in Israel.
3. A wartime miracle
Bracha Lamm, an American who made aliyah to Israel and the founder of LaBayit Gifts, was 8 months pregnant when her husband Akiva was called to reserve duty.
Amid the uncertainty of whether Akiva would be able to return in time for the birth of their son, a miraculous moment occurred as he made it back from reserves just moments before the birth.
Bracha recounted the experience of giving birth during the war on her Instagram stories, sharing beautiful moments that exemplify Israeli and Jewish resilience.
4. A father and son reunite
In a touching moment, a son and father, both serving in the IDF in separate operations in Gaza, had a heartfelt reunion in the field. They hadn’t seen each other in over two weeks.
5. A “Jewish Matchmaking” contestant gets married
Cindy Seni of Netflix’s “Jewish Matchmaking” married Eldad in a serene sunset ceremony, surrounded by 50 close friends and family.
When the war broke out, exactly one month before her planned wedding date, she struggled with whether to proceed, writing on Instagram: “When the war hit, nothing seemed less important than my wedding. Joy was a commodity we couldn’t afford anymore.”
Ultimately, she chose to celebrate her wedding as an act of defiance against Hamas, hoping it would be a “ray of hope and joy in the darkest hour.”
6. A soldier’s surprise wedding
Yisrael Atlow, who is currently serving as a reservist, thought he was heading for a 24-hour break from the army. To his surprise, when he arrived, he was met with a surprise wedding planned by his fiancé!
His entire unit attended the wedding, where Atlow wore his uniform instead of the suit he had planned.
In an interview with Channel 13, his now-wife, Anna, was asked how she managed to keep the wedding a secret, to which she responded, “He wasn’t reachable. He didn’t have a phone. It was easy.”
Atlow reflected on the celebration, saying, “We have a lot of pain in our nation right now, but we need joy. And that is what we are doing here.”
7. A heartfelt family reunion
A touching family reunion unfolded when a father, who had been on reserve duty for over five weeks, surprised his daughter Noga on her 13th birthday.
He arrived with a cake in the middle of Noga’s classmates singing her “happy birthday” for an extremely heartfelt moment. While her dad has been away serving the country, Noga has been doing her part as well, actively boosting morale and preparing packages for soldiers.
Watch this heartwarming moment:
8. Cowboys from Arkansas and Montana visit Israel
In a surprising yet wonderful display of solidarity, 10 American cowboys from Montana and Arkansas traveled to Israel to support local farmers affected by the shortage of foreign workers due to the war.
Volunteering their skills, these cowboys have become a symbol of global unity during these challenging times.
Originally Published Nov 20, 2023 11:13AM EST