Israel at War 2023: Updates from Pardes

Torah and Community: Lights Shining through the Darkness

On October 7, 2023 Hamas terrorists entered Israel from Gaza, committing devastating atrocities that have horrified the world. Many, including children and elderly, were murdered while hostages were taken, including Hersh Goldberg-Polin, the son of Pardes staff member Rachel Goldberg. Active soldiers and reservists have been called to the front, many of them related to the staff and faculty at Pardes. Across the world, Jewish communities are shocked, in pain, and feeling terror for the safety of their loved ones. 

Yet, despite this fear, we have not been silent, hiding ourselves away. Instead, Jewish communities and organizations have been coming together, gathering in solidarity and support for one another.

Since October 7 and throughout the ensuing war, we have seen a beautiful outpouring of love from the Pardes family, as alumni and friends reach out to those of us in Israel and gather for Torah learning and support. In Israel, the Torah learning at Pardes continues uninterrupted, with students of our Year Program filling the Beit Midrash, celebrating Rosh Hodesh, and doing great deeds to help others during this time of darkness.

Still here,
Still learning,
Still together.

Come Together

Pardes alumni across the world are coming together as a community to find strength in studying Torah and support one another during the current crisis.

If you are interested in organizing an alumni gathering, please contact Jordyn Steifman.

Prayer List

We are praying for all those civilians and soldiers who have been injured to experience a complete healing.  We also pray for the brave members of the Israel Defense Forces called to serve, and particularly have in mind the following soldiers who are a part of our extended Pardes family.

View our prayer list here.

Send Notes of Chizuk

Our staff and faculty in Israel have been deeply touched by the outpouring of support they have received from Pardesniks across the world. We have created a form to better facilitate the sending of notes to them. If you’d like to send a note, please use the form below. 

Send notes to the Pardes Israel team.

Bring Hersh Home

On October 7, Hersh Goldberg-Polin, son of Pardes staff member and alumna Rachel Goldberg and Jonathan Polin, was taken hostage by Hamas during the attack at the Nova Music Festival near Kibbutz Reim in Southern Israel. During the attack, Hersh was injured, losing a portion of his left arm, and he is in dire need of medical attention. Pardes stands with Rachel and Jonathan during this difficult time.

Uninterrupted Torah Study

At Pardes, we believe that Torah study can be a source of strength and comfort during a crisis.

The Pardes Beit Midrash is still illuminated with the voices of Torah study as Year Program students and faculty continue to study Torah. Alumni and friends are also learning together, both with alumni gatherings and through online learning opportunities.

Video Messages

Our Existential Fear
R. Leon Morris

On Trauma
R. Brent Chaim Spodek

Is God with Us?
R. Brent Chaim Spodek

Email Signoffs During Crisis
R. Jess Minnen

Wisdom on Survivor’s Guilt 
Faith Leener


Thanks for Asking… 
Judy Klitsner
In a letter to a friend, Judy Klitsner responds to the question so many in the Diaspora are asking, “How can we help?”
Read Now

Holy Darkness
Rabbi Dr. Levi Cooper
While acknowledging the challenge in doing so, Rabbi Dr. Levi Cooper invites us to seek the glow of holiness in darkness, with a Hasidic perspective on winter.
Read Now

Tell the World I Will Not Go
Jackie Frankel Yaakov
Pardes Director of Leadership Gifts Jackie Frankel Yaakov shares her personal and emotional account of being an Israeli-American in Israel during this time.
Read Now

The Shock of a Dark Shabbat That Should Have Been Joyful
Sophie Gregoire Weill
Current Pardes student Sophie Gregoire Weill recounts her experience of preparing for Simchat Torah just as the news begin to hit.
Read Now

Embracing Our Soldiers
Rabbi Dr. Levi Cooper
While acknowledging the challenge in doing so, Rabbi Dr. Levi Cooper invites us to seek the glow of holiness in darkness, with a Hasidic perspective on winter.
Read Now


Torah for Tough Times: A 3-Part Series
Rabbi Dr. Levi Cooper
While left reeling from the pain of this tragedy, many of us are wondering, how do we pray during a time such as this? What guidance does the Torah have for us during such tough times?
Listen Now

We Are at War
Rav Mike Feuer
Rav Mike has a conversation with Rav Aaron Leibowitz to discuss  some of the questions raised by the war in Israel. How did we get here, how do we handle it, and where are we headed?
Listen Now

Healing, Vision, and Action
Rav Mike Feuer
Rav Mike and the Virtual Rabbi, Rabbi Johnny Solomon, discuss how we can be there for one another and provide support to those who have experienced tragedy.
Listen Now

Pidyon Shvuyim: Redeeming Captives
Rabbi Dr. Levi Cooper
As the Jewish world waits and prays for news of the over 200 hostages held by Hamas, the Maggid of Melbourne takes an in-depth look into the mitzvah of pidyon shvuyim, redeeming captives, in a new podcast series.
Listen Now

Torah as a Light Lecture Series

The Torah as a Light Lecture Series is an online opportunity for the Pardes community to gather on Mondays and Thursdays to study Torah together throughout the crises.

Click here to learn more and register to attend an upcoming session. 

Please note: The Community Education Fall series will be holding classes online through Zoom during the current crisis. Please contact Debra Weiner at for more information.

Dating back to the days of Ezra, the Jewish people have gathered as a community on Mondays and Thursdays to share in words of Torah. Embracing this tradition during a time where community is so vital, we will be gathering each Monday and Thursday for Torah learning.

Each gathering will begin with a brief update from Pardes in Jerusalem, followed by learning dedicated to the loved ones of members of our community who have been called into army service.

Standing Together as a Community

Pardesniks are gathering together as a caring community to support one another during these difficult times. In Jerusalem, students are coming together to pray in the Pardes Beit Midrash while giving each other strength, while also engaging in a variety of community service activities. Abroad, Pardes alumni and friends have been organizing gatherings to hold space for one another and, of course, engage in Torah study. 

Follow Pardes on Facebook or Instagram to see more pictures, watch videos, and read stories of how the Pardes family is coming together as a community.

If you would like to organize an alumni community gathering, please contact Jordyn Steifman at

Praying With Our Feet

Supporting One Another