Names of Israeli hostages on a public table in the high school hallway.
Names of Israeli hostages on a public table in the high school hallway.
Photo by Molly Soloman

How does the HBHA Community Support Israel in its Time of Need?

The Israel-Hamas war is an active conflict that is changing daily. For Jews all around the world, this situation is devastating. The topic of the war is mentioned frequently in the HBHA community, and we share our condolences and heartbreak with one another as peers, staff, and as a Jewish nation. However, being in America, there are limited options as to how we can show our support in a meaningful way. 


Image of one of Rosenthal’s art pieces. Photo provided by Emma Rosenthal.


12th grader Emma Rosenthal speaks on her personal experiences and thoughts on the situation. She explains how she believes she has a personal connection to the topic because of her latest summer spent in Israel and her Jewish values. When asked about her personal feelings, Rosenthal says “I honestly have had a very hard time with the war. But early on I learned that you can’t go around being sad. You have to do things to make other people feel happy in this really hard time.”


She spoke about a peer of hers who has similar questions as Rosenthal of how people can be joyous during these times. Rosenthal said she believes that “we need those little celebrations.” Such as dancing with friends, spending time with family, and even successes in school. 


Rosenthal has also gone the extra mile to physically try and support the people of Israel. 

Rosenthal sends uplifting videos of kids singing, prays for the missing hostages, and attending Zoom calls organized by her summer camp focused on supporting the diaspora Jewish community. Uniquely, Rosenthal expresses her support and emotions through art. Rosenthal speaks of her personal background with art and her first piece of art she shared virtually with loved ones in Israel to let them know she is thinking about them. She explains how meaningful and sentimental these art pieces are to her. 


Rosenthal then continues to share how something  like a simple text message or call could make someone’s day. She says even though she is, “so many hours away from you [her friend], so many miles away from you, and this little thing that I’m doing is impacting your life?” 


Zohar Flacks is another example of an HBHA community member sending support to Israel from a far. When asked what it is like being an Israeli away from Israel in this time of crisis, she says, “it’s mentally exhausting, because that is where your brain goes to all the time when it has a minute. So that’s hard.” She also reflects on the existence of Israel, and how it is in question during this time, and how scared she is as an Israeli in America. 


Principal Flacks speaks of her fear of when she goes back to her home, she will find a completely different Israel, and how she doesn’t know what that different Israel will look like at this current stage. 

Flacks says, “My biggest fear is that my home, my real home, is changing, or has changed, and I don’t understand it.” 


However as an administrator and an Israeli, there is a responsibility and obligation that comes with this role. She speaks of how she is the person to facilitate conversations of what is happening in Israel.


When speaking of the school’s upcoming Jewish Heritage trip, she talks about the possibility of going on a volunteer trip where the students help make a meaningful impact and difference. Flacks says that she has the “responsibility as an Israeli, as an educator,” and she continues to speak of how she has spoken to the media. She says, “if we don’t speak up, who will?” 

Student written letters to citizens in Israel. ( Image by Molly Soloman)

She ends off speaking of how she has contributed to support Israel through HBHA by making programs, fundraisers, and spreading awareness though news outlets. 


Morah Tami Sal, a Hebrew MS and US instructor, speaks on her experience with supporting Israel. Sal says her personal support is dramatically different from her educator support. She says, “With you, as a student, I think that I am trying to show that we all are thinking about Israel, about our Jewish brothers and sisters in Israel from far away.” She explains that in school, she tries to lift up everyone and bring more emotional support by doing things that uplift the students.

 In comparison, her personal life support is more of an informative approach. Sal says, “I’m trying to be on social media and post as much as possible…Anything that can make people around the world understand.” She finishes by adding that she focuses more on combating Antisemitism and enlightening others around her in her personal life, while in the school environment, she focuses on uplifting others. 


These are only a few examples. Many students all over HBHA are showing their support to Israel by buying shirts (where the money is donated to Israeli organizations), writing letters, videos, graphics, and communicating with the people of Israel.   


Our HBHA community has all shared a moment of heartbreak and grief with one another. Our community has done so much to show their support mentally and physically for the people of Israel. Holding up morale and bringing a smile to people’s faces together as a community, even if not in Israel, helps uplift the community as a whole.   

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