Since October 7, Israel’s content creators have not only become frontline soldiers in the very real digital war against antisemitism, but many have chosen to use their offline platforms for good as well.
Dozens of Israeli creators are leading efforts to raise money, cook, and offer support to those impacted by the October 7 massacre. This includes assisting the over 100,000 evacuees as well as IDF soldiers and reservists.
As a content creator myself, it has been incredibly powerful to watch my friends and colleagues come together for the Jewish state and people and use their platforms for good.
Here are a few Israeli content creators using their platforms to provide a bit of light during this truly heartbreaking time.
Chaya Rappaport, or Retrolilies, is an American-Israeli food stylist, culinary manager for the Jewish Food Society and content creator.
She has pledged to donate to the IDF for every anti-Israel comment her content receives and has contributed over $5,000 to the Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces (FIDF) so far.
Rappaport, who is currently based in New York, started this initiative as a response to her frustration and being distant from Israel.
Rather than ignoring or deleting the hateful comments, she thought, “I could say thank you and donate to the IDF instead!” Chaya makes a point of replying to each comment, letting the commenter know about the donation made in their name.
Her approach has inspired others to either follow suit or offer to contribute to her donations. When asked why she felt motivated to do this, she said, “I think a lot about the efficacy of being a keyboard warrior and if it is even worth diving into.”
She continued, “But, as Menachem Begin said, ‘We are not Jews with weak knees.’ And we have so many battlefields to fight on today, it is more than just a physical war in our homeland. And we are not going down easy. We are not going down, period.”
“We are standing up and fighting and that looks different for every single person but we can’t be afraid to use our voices and our power to stand up in whatever way we can,” she added.
Gili from Philly
Tel Aviv-based creator Gili Fleekop, better known as Gili from Philly, was in the States visiting family for the holidays when the massacre took place.
Unable to return home to Israel, she took to her platform, helping to source, fund, and send lifesaving equipment to the frontlines.
Today, she is managing over 300 volunteers who are ordering, packaging, and delivering supplies to soldiers by direct request. This initiative began with a surge of WhatsApp requests from her Israeli friends on the frontlines and rapidly evolved into receiving dozens of daily submissions through their widely circulated IDF request form.
Fleekop’s project, called “Unit 107,” ensures that soldiers get exactly what they need.
Fleekop explained, ”When the war broke out…I started to think, how can I help from afar? And that’s how our operation started.” The operation is currently using her Tel Aviv apartment as its headquarters while she handles logistics from the States.
TheIsraelBites and Dvir Bar
We collaborated with local gluten-free bakeries and stores to create a “Gluten-Free War Operations Room.” Our organization is ensuring that celiac-safe food is available to soldiers across the country who are struggling to get proper nutrition.
We have also been sending packages to those who lost their homes or have been evacuated to ensure they have nutritional and safe food options.
Chen Koren founded “Box from Jerusalem,” which delivers a taste of the iconic Machne Yehuda Market (aka the Shuk) worldwide through customized gift boxes.
Since October 7, however, she has been focused on organizing donations and sending buses filled with supplies to soldiers across the country.
Within days of the horrific attack that left her in-laws without a home, Koren quickly turned her own home into a makeshift operations center, gathering food and supplies for soldiers.
In addition, Koren initiated a project to send care packages to women who are currently at home alone as their husbands serve on reserve duty.
She has also used her platform to share the miraculous story of her husband’s parents’ survival of the massacre at Kfar Aza, the village where her husband grew up and where his family has lived for many years.
Mike Solomonov and Adeena Sussman
Since October 7, they have dedicated their efforts to fundraising for groups providing lifesaving services, like United Hatzalah and Magen David Adom.
Solomonov generously contributed over $100,000 from his CookNSolo restaurant group to United Hatzalah, while Sussman pivoted her book tour for her latest Shabbat cookbook to support Magen David Adom, United Hatzalah, and Hadassah Hospital.
Additionally, Sussman partnered with Seed and Mill, an American tahini and halva company, and the Jewish Food Society, organizing bake sales that raised $30,000 for Asif Tel Aviv: Culinary Institute of Israel. This institute has dedicated its space to preparing thousands of daily meals for soldiers.
Travels of Alicia
Alicia Schneider, Travels of Alicia, is a social media content creator who travels the world and creates beautiful content centered around her scuba diving adventures.
Now, she is applying her skills as the volunteer head of marketing for Citizen’s Kitchen. This wartime operation — staffed by over 200 volunteers — provides over 500 hearty, home-cooked meals to soldiers and displaced families daily.
Specifically, Schneider is helping Citizen’s Kitchen with their fundraising efforts by running their social media campaigns. She has also used her own channels in this effort, helping the group raise over 30,000 NIS ($8,000) within the first few days of the war.
When asked why she decided to get involved, Schneider said, “My work at Citizen’s Kitchen gives me a purpose that keeps my spirits high and motivates me to keep going. Not only that, but the community we’ve built around our initiative has been so supportive and a real source of light in these dark times.”
Citizen’s Kitchen was launched by sisters Aliya Fastman and Shaendl Davis, owners of the Tel Aviv-based cooking studio Citrus and Salt, who felt called to help Israelis during their unprecedented time of grief and struggle.
The group recently announced that they are partnering with World Central Kitchen, which serves meals to communities impacted by natural disasters and humanitarian crises. They have raised over $70,000 for their efforts so far.
The Real Hadassa
Hadassa Goldberg, or The Real Hadassa, is known for her commitment to ensuring that IDF soldiers consistently feel loved and supported, regardless of the circumstances.
She is constantly raising money to provide snacks, cold drinks, and other goodies to bases across Israel. Over the last months, she has been working nonstop to provide for soldiers serving in the South.
Goldberg has also launched a clothing line to encourage people around the world to express their Israeli pride. On social media, every Thursday, she is inspiring people to demonstrate their Israeli and Jewish pride under the slogan, “On Thursdays we wear blue and white.”
She also assembles packages for wives who are managing alone while their husbands are on reserve duty. Remarkably, she balances all these efforts with caring for her two young children as her husband is currently away on reserve duty.
Originally Published Nov 13, 2023 10:51AM EST