101 Healthy and Productive Ways to Respond to the War in Israel and Palestine:

101 Healthy and Productive Ways to Respond to the War in Israel and Palestine


Rabbi Micah Geurin Weiss


This list is written for Jews living outside the land of Israel who don’t have a one-word Israel identity. If you are feeling alone and struggling to feel fully aligned with any camp or position, and are looking for concrete responses to this moment, this list is for you.


  1. Cry.
  2. Scream (in private).
  3. Pray.
  4. Sing.
  5. Sleep, eat and drink lots of water.
  6. Don’t go to marches or rallies that will hurt your soul.
  7. Don’t take down your Black Lives Matter sign.
  8. Don’t take down your mezuzah.
  9. Study more Torah.
  10. Do more mitzvahs.
  11. Do not stop your daily spiritual practices that refill your well of rakhamim (“compassion”). It is a renewable resource.
  12. Call your Jewish elders. Ask them to tell you stories from their past that inform how they are thinking about the present moment. Just listen.
  13. If you feel like you are all alone and everyone around you feels differently about the situation than you do, be reassured that most of us feel like you. Those who are the loudest are rarely the actual majority. At the very least, know you are not alone in feeling alone.
  14. Recite the 121st psalm every day.
  15. Trust in God.
  16. Talk to God about not trusting God.
  17. Add an extra seat to your Shabbat table each week. Invite someone outside your immediate circle of friends who has been deeply impacted by this war and could use some love and community.
  18. Give tzedakah to Israelis advocating for just policies with a note that says, “You are working for an Israel that I can believe in. Thank you.”
  19. Give tzedakah to Israelis working to end the occupation with a note that says, “Even in the darkest of times, your work is essential for there to be light in the future. Thank you.”
  20. Give tzedakah to Israelis attending to the suffering of their people with a note that says, “Thank you for doing so many mitzvahs.”
  21. Give tzedakah to Palestinian families in Gaza with a note that says, “I am obligated to you,” and mean it.
  22. Give tzedakah to a cause within the city you live in with a note that says, “I won’t forget you.”
  23. Give tzedakah to organizations not connected to Israel that support art, music, Torah and community with a note that says, “I won’t forget you.”
  24. Verify that your tzedakah is going to organizations that are legitimate and effective.
  25. Protect and invest in important relationships.
  26. Learn what turns of phrase you are acculturated to saying about Israel that cause pain to people you love and respect. Think strategically before you use them or develop different language for the same ideas.
  27. Reach out to a Palestinian friend living in the diaspora saying, “I see you. I see your pain. We will not forget you.”
  28. Reach out to a Palestinian friend living in Israel with Israeli citizenship and say, “I know this is your home, too. You are entitled to the same rights, protections, civil services and opportunities as your Jewish neighbors.”
  29. Reach out to an Israeli friend living in the diaspora and ask, “How are you holding up being so far from home in such a scary time?”
  30. Reach out to an Israeli friend living in Israel and ask, “What are you seeing and experiencing that you want me to know about?” Ask them how they are doing.
  31. Reach out to a trusted, ardent Jewish anti-Zionist and ask them, “Help me understand what Jewish peoplehood means to you right now.”
  32. Reach out to a trusted, ardent Jewish Zionist and ask them, “Help me understand in what ways you are proud of what Israel is doing right now.”
  33. Find an Israel/Palestine advocacy political home. It’s likely to be the one you feel about 60% aligned with. Become a member or make a significant contribution. Study up on their current campaigns. Get involved by taking specific, concrete actions.
  34. Volunteer your time performing an important skill you are particularly good at to people doing important advocacy work to help make them more impactful.
  35. Try wearing a kippah in public in a place that will feel safe.
  36. If you own tefillin but don’t use them, try putting them on. If it doesn’t feel right, consider gifting them to someone who will use them.
  37. Say a misheberach for healing each day.
  38. Say a misheberach for the redemption of captives each day.
  39. Say a prayer of mothers for life and peace each day.
  40. Change your prayers; these times are urgent.
  41. Say the same prayers. Trust the endless capacity of our timeless liturgies and rituals.
  42. Allow yourself to think about how your study of the case for reparations for Black and Native Americans informs your understanding of the Palestinian case for reparations. They aren’t the same, but they also aren’t entirely different.
  43. Read Palestinian poetry. Read Israeli poetry.
  44. Say the names and ages of those killed on Oct. 7.
  45. Say the names and ages of those killed since Oct. 7.
  46. Shuffle all the names. Say all of their names. See if you can tell who is Us and who is Them, and why it matters.
  47. Get to know the feelings under your feelings. What are you afraid of? What are you ashamed of? Find an unconditionally loving and deeply trusted person to talk to about those big feelings.
  48. Don’t try to educate yourself on the entire history of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in one week.
  49. Pick one really good history book and start reading it.
  50. Go to bed early three nights in a row.
  51. Read the news about the war once a day, six days a week. If you don’t need to read the news from the Middle East for your job, you probably shouldn’t read more than that.
  52. Start regularly reading a news source that pushes your comfort zone, in addition to your usual ones. Al Jazeera or The Times of Israel would be good places to try next, depending on where you are starting from.
  53. Take a social-media break. (Take another social-media break.)
  54. Pause before posting. Ask yourself, “Is this post leshem shamayim (“for the sake of Ultimate Good”)?”
  55. Pause before commenting. Ask yourself, “Is this comment leshem shamayim (“for the sake of Ultimate Good”)?”
  56. Denounce Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his complete abdication of responsibility and leadership.
  57. Celebrate the heroic mutual aid efforts of Israeli civil society.
  58. Go back and read about this summer’s democracy protests in Israel and what they were fighting against.
  59. Strengthen your dan lecaf zekhut muscles (“assuming good will”). Everyone is doing their best to make sense of what they are seeing and hearing.
  60. Study-up on antisemitism. Read different definitions. Learn the differences and the similarities.
  61. When you name antisemitism, practice explaining why you are naming it and why it’s antisemitic.
  62. Pick one important person, in one context, who has said something hurtful to you as a Jew in the past three weeks. Invite them to get coffee. Be transparent that you’d like to have a difficult conversation and check if they have the capacity for that. After genuinely listening to how they are doing, share about your experience.
  63. Ask the manager to kindly remove the graffiti in their bathroom that says, “From the River to the Sea,” but leave the part that says, “Free Palestine.” Explain why you are OK with one and not the other.
  64. Study up on Christian Zionism. Become vigilant about the ways Jews are positioned as tools for others’ political ends that are not in our interests.
  65. If you are still saying asher bakhar banu mikol ha’amim (“Who has chosen us from amongst all the other nations”) and you literally mean it as Jewish Supremacy, stop. Remember: Liturgy is poetry and contains a multitude of emergent theologies. We are gifted the agency to shape what it means.
  66. Practice denouncing Jewish Supremacy without denouncing Zionism.
  67. Practice denouncing Islamic Extremism without writing off Palestinian liberation.
  68. Don’t make generalizations about all Israelis or all Palestinians.
  69. Join a synagogue if you don’t already belong to one.
  70. Don’t quit your synagogue if you are having trouble hanging in there with your community. It’s totally OK to take a break.
  71. Get more involved with your synagogue if things are going OK. Now is a great time to join a committee.
  72. Make a significant donation to your rabbi’s discretionary fund. Tell them you trust them to use it for what they think is most helpful and needed in these times.
  73. Listen to your favorite Israeli music. Listen to your favorite Palestinian music.
  74. Listen to your comfort music. Listen to healing music.
  75. Speak Hebrew. Take joy in it.
  76. Brush up on your Arabic phrases. Go to your local Arab-owned grocery store for your weekly food shopping. Say, “Hello, how are you,” “Thank you” and “Goodbye” in Arabic to the cashier.
  77. Gather in community with like-minded hevreh (friends).
  78. Gather in community with strong relational bonds and significant lines of political difference. Remember that people are so much more than their social-media posts.
  79. Visit an installation of an empty Shabbat table set for 239. Say a prayer for the redemption of captives.
  80. Visit a memorial to the 10,000-plus dead in Gaza. Say the Mourners Kaddish.
  81. Study values-aligned contemporary Torah that could only have been created in Israel.
  82. Listen to the wisdom of inspiring Jewish leaders.
  83. Start listening to a new Jewish podcast that isn’t about Israel.
  84. Don’t turn away from news you don’t want to hear and wish weren’t true.
  85. Make sure the news you are turning to is fact-checked and not fake news.
  86. Cook dinner and bring it to a friend in need.
  87. Spend time in nature. Take off your shoes and socks, and grip the earth with your toes as strongly as you can.
  88. Ask around about how things are going at your local mosque, and see if you can help out with any neighborly efforts of support and solidarity.
  89. Join the mailing list of your local interfaith justice organization. Appreciate how hard they are working to maintain their coalition across huge lines of difference.
  90. Read a range of perspectives about the future of Israel, the occupied Palestinian territories and the possible resolution of the conflict.
  91. Read a novel by an Israeli or Palestinian author of a different generation than you.
  92. Read a novel by an Israeli or Palestinian author of the same generation as you.
  93. Seek out stories of hope and breathtakingly beautiful examples of our shared humanity.
  94. Turn off your phone for Shabbat.
  95. When you wake up in the morning, Say modeh/ah/et ani and take 10 deep breaths before you pick up your phone.
  96. Listen to the news in Hebrew. Listen to the news in Arabic.
  97. Take care of your body. Notice where you are holding tension and try to unclench. Do a few stretches or favorite yoga poses. Ask someone for a shoulder rub and offer one in return.
  98. Reach out to a few friends whose political analysis you really trust and respect, and ask who they learn the most from on social media. Follow those people.
  99. Support independent journalism.
  100. Send notes of appreciation to people and organizations that perfectly put words to things you have struggled to know how to articulate.
  101. If you feel the need to share a strong opinion on social media, link to a 1,000-plus word essay with an opaque title so people have to deeply engage with nuanced thinking before yelling at you.

Special thanks to Rabbi Joshua Bolton for teaching me the poetic form of the Facebook list.

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