The world is reeling from Hamas’ devastating attacks in Israel on October 7, the greatest atrocity committed against Jews since the Holocaust. The past weeks have been full of extraordinary pain, suffering, and heartbreak.
But it hasn’t been enough to stifle the resilience of the Jewish community. Janine Lowy, a proud Zionist with close ties to Israel, spoke with us about the importance of finding moments of hope and humanity in the darkest of times.
“It is crucial that we take opportunities to acknowledge the incredible acts that have followed this unspeakable tragedy – especially for those of us with children and grandchildren,” said Lowy. “We need to remind ourselves and the ones we love that there is still so much worth celebrating in Israel and the Jewish community.”
Lowy appreciates Israel21c’s The Unexpected Heroes series, which celebrates the ordinary Israeli citizens who have exemplified bravery and courage while serving their communities in the wake of last month’s attacks.
“These are the stories of ‘normal’ Israeli citizens that are coming together, rising to the occasion to support one another through incredible acts of courage and generosity,” Lowy said. “I recommend reading through these when you need to step back from the pain and focus on something positive – and remind your loved ones to do the same.”
Below, Lowy shares a selection of the stories that resonated most. “I love to cook for my family – so many of these revolve around feeding people,” Lowy said.
Beraha Astruk is a nurse and mom of five living near Israel’s northern border. After her shifts end, she welcomes IDF soldiers into her home for home-cooked meals and hot showers.
“Beraha embodies the warmth of the Jewish spirit,” Janine Lowy said. “She even prepares comforting Shabbat meals for the soldiers.”
Brothers Asaf and Yotam Doktor co-own Ha’Achim, a 10,000-square-foot restaurant in Tel Aviv, which they’ve converted into a central hub for preparing and distributing hot meals to those affected by the war. The set-up has grown to produce 17,000 meals every day, distributed by over 2,000 volunteers.
Sami Elkrenawi is a Bedouin Israeli businessman who owns five small hotels in the Negev Desert. Since the start of the war, he has hosted families evacuated from Gaza border communities in 50 hotel rooms. “Sami has done this all at his own expense – and he’s even provided them with food and clothing,” said Janine Lowy.