RESPONDING TO THE NOW.
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Elizabeth Ruty Shehter
Visual Art Editors
Shock, rage, hope, despair, and most of all, grief. In the wake of the barbaric attacks that took place on October 7 and the ongoing war in Gaza, all of us face the immense task of making sense of this painful new reality.
We watch the news, doom scroll, cry, debate, and try to breathe. We create. We insist on words, on composition, on extracting the tormenting swirl of emotions within and making something tangible from it — a release that can be shared and experienced by others. We write stories and poetry. We paint, take photos, draw, design. In the darkest of days, we insist on creation. We know that to be human is to create, so when it seems as though humans have lost their humanity, we do what we can to restore it. And just as importantly, we share what we create, knowing this is essential to building and rebuilding community, forging understanding, and facilitating healing.
That is what this digital magazine is all about. The artwork and writing in each installation represent people’s raw and real feelings and experiences since the start of the war.
We will be updating the magazine every month, and we are accepting submissions on a rolling basis. Click here for more information on how to submit. We hope you find some connection and healing from reading this magazine.
The WRITE-HAUS team
Layers of The Unseen 01, Photograph
Layers of The Unseen 02, Photograph
Detail 01, Photograph
And for a moment, I want
only my pain to feel. To break
the connection that binds us
by breath and heartbeat.
I ask: Where does my pain end
and yours begin? Where to untangle the end of me
and the start of you? Where to mark
these boundaries of separation?
The mute voice of wisdom whispers: Silly human!
You silly little human.
I grit my teeth. I breathe. I feel my heartbeat.
I breathe. I feel my heartbeat.
I breathe. I feel your heartbeat.
I ask: Where do my love and your love meet?
Where to tangle the ends of me and the starts of you?
Where to heal, where to heal?
Where to hold so I am you and you are me?
We were not born to be good,
we were destined to survive
A box of genes in the world
Formed the self
And self created God
And God saw good
and like in a movie that is shown backward from the end to the beginning
All the good we are
Is in spite,
Photograph by Diana Dawahdi Shalash
Artwork by Mona Haj
It Shall Pass, Ballpoint Pen Drawing edited Digitally
Bring Them Back, Paper Collage/Digital
Dedicated to Dudy Laniado: a dairy farmer who, after hearing of the terror attacks on Kibbutz Nir Oz, risked heavy fire to milk and feed the cows.
Suddenly, you wake up and you mourn the little girl you just met in your dreams.
Suddenly you put down the dish you were washing and ask yourself,
“Who will milk the cows tomorrow morning?”
You are aware that there’s an ongoing hostage situation but –
who will feed the cats?
And you know that people have been slaughtered, you do
but suddenly, while driving to the grocery store, you pull off to the side of the road and you
wonder what will happen to the fruit ripening in the fields, no one there to harvest it, left alone to
fall into the bloodstained earth and rot.
And who will milk the cows tomorrow morning?
They Soon Will Become Angels, Oil on Canvas
Yarden Roman, Digital Illustration
Things That Words Cannot Describe,
I live thousands of miles
away from the war
yet the bombs that fall
shatter the peace here
the same way they shatter
the buildings in Gaza.
And though I don’t watch
the images on TV of
the crumbled concrete
blocks or the bodies
of the dead dragged
out of the rubble,
I weep for the lives lost,
especially for the children.
Each day the war goes on
and more people are killed
and more people die and
there’s more destruction,
each day is another lost
opportunity to seek peace,
to end the madness.
And here I sit at my desk
thousands of miles away
praying for the hostages
held captive for weeks—
not knowing if they’re still alive,
if they’re being fed and cared for,
not knowing if they’ll be released safely.
I don’t know anything except
that I wish for their safe return
and pray for an end to the killing
and long for peace—a word
no one remembers.
Freedom Rally, Watercolor and Acrylic in sketchbook
even our tears will fill the trunk of a tree
The planet is healing
and like all fevers before
they break, it rises from
core to mantle where
picture frames line a mass ofrenda
populating every day with enemies.
Murder means nothing to the soil that
Bring Me Back, Paper Collage
Freedom Now Rally, Watercolor and colored pencils in sketchbook
Bring Them Home 1, Acrylic Markers in Sketchbook
After October 7th
we were all dead and moving
as if electrocuted
a nation of frankensteins
forced to bring bodies back to life
and with electricity searing
through our veins- electric fence fallen to a puddle-
we began to pray for rain.
please, oh God, rain
to clear blood from roofless homes, rockets
to turn to rain around innocents-
Abraham prayed for the lives of rapists and God said no,
anger rained down on Sodom.
now the rain tastes so salty
of the dust clearing before our eyes,
landing on our speechless,
these are tears,
living, human tears and
the rain is shaking
with the shake of an electric nation.
the rain tastes salty.
the dust will clear.
Abby Yucht is an emerging poet living in Jerusalem, Israel. Born and raised in Teaneck, NJ, she immigrated to Israel with her parents and siblings in 2015. She received her BA in psychology and musicology from Bar Ilan University and is starting an MSW at Hebrew University. Abby works in the field of mental health rehabilitation by day and loves to run poetry groups and workshops for her friends and community members by night. Abby’s most recent work can be found in the magazines Glass Mountain, Poetica, and is forthcoming in Channel.
Aida Bechar is a collage artist, illustrator and graphic designer. Based in Tel Aviv, she was born and raised in Istanbul, Turkey. As a classically trained artist with old-school Turkish art education, she uses collage as a means to free her creativity and step out of her boundaries. Her process is informed by the absurd, happy mistakes and her love of typography. Aida has exhibited her work in Tel Aviv, Cologne and in New York. She studied Visual Communications in Bezalel Academy and holds an MFA degree in Illustration from FIT, NYC.
Bruce Black is editorial director of The Jewish Writing Project. His poetry and personal essays have appeared in numerous publications, including Soul-Lit, The BeZine, Bearings, Super Poetry Highway, Poetica, Lehrhaus, Tiferet, Hevria, Jewthink, The Jewish Literary Journal, and elsewhere. He lives in Highland Park, IL (USA).
Daniel Niv majored in Literature and Creative Writing in both Hebrew and English. She works as a professional reader for publishing houses, and is the co-founder and co-editor of Spell Jar Press. She received the Bar Sagi Award for her poetry. You can find her published works in Phantom Kangaroo, Anti-Heroin Chic, Amethyst Review, and elsewhere. She is most fascinated with writing poems that are both confessional and referential, writing fiction, and crafting collage-poems in a room full of candles.
Didi Kfir is an illustrator, graphic designer, and pattern maker who graduated from Shenkar College of Design and Art. Born in Israel and currently based in Berlin, they are happy to integrate typography with illustration, applying it across editorial and book illustrations, as well as branding projects. Additionally, she enjoys illustrating through embroidery in their personal endeavors.
Leeor Margalit is studying linguistics at Tel Aviv University. She enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and photographing her friends.
Lior Maayan, born in Israel, lives with his wife near Tel Aviv. He is a hi-tech entrepreneur with Physics & Math background, an IDF Talpiot program graduate, and holds an MSc from the Technion, and an INSEAD MBA. Lior is a member of the 2022-23 Alma-Metanel Fellowship Program and the JTS Schoken Institute program for the arts. He is a graduate of the first Helicon Arabic-Hebrew poetry program & Makom Leshira Arabic-Hebrew Poetry Translation initiative. A Weizmann Institute Life Verse Poetry Laurate, his work has appeared in numerous publications including Granta, Asymptote, Haaretz, Yediot Aharonot, Write-Haus, Nanopoetica, Mashiv Haruach, Kol Alarab (Arabic tr.), OtroLunes (Spanish tr.) etc. His book “That Green” (Dr. Shira Stav editor), was published by Afik Publishing House in 2019.
Marina is an artist, illustrator, and art educator based in Ra’anana, Israel, graduated from an art academy in Belorussia. Sketching is one of Marina’s passions. Everywhere she travels, she takes her sketchbook along with her. But the real essence of urban sketching for her is finding stories in everyday routines and combining sketching with daily tasks like taking care of her children, working, or running errands. “A sketchbook and a simple pen – that is all you need to go on a journey every day. Drawing is seeing, so you just need to open your eyes wider and start to sketch!”
Mona Haj is a recent graduate from a Visual Communication department. Her work is personal and expressive, addressing social and political issues. She frequently integrates her own body into her creations, adding a sense of openness and vulnerability to her work. By delving into her emotions, she aims to foster empathy for her subjects. As a Palestinian woman in Israeli society, Mona navigates the complexities of her identity and the ongoing conflicts, which she continually reflects in her art.
Moriya was born in Ukraine, where she received an art education. She currently works and lives in Israel. Moriya specializes in realism; she draws inspiration from the beauty of simple lines and the idealism of nature. Her passion lies in exploring the depths of the human soul, skillfully capturing its emotions through eloquent body language.
Ronit Joy Holtz (b. 1997, United States) is a painter and an installation artist. She completed a B.F.A in painting at the Savannah College of Art and Design in the spring of 2019. In her emerging years as an artist, Ronit has participated in many exhibitions, been featured in galleries and private collections in over 15 countries and states. She currently resides in Tel Aviv, Israel as a permanent studio artist and atelierista (art teacher). Ronit’s recent studio work is about healing through trauma, loss and grief. In the studio she explores ways to tap back into pain, but to cope with it in creative ways using mixed media and found objects infused with nostalgia and personal sentiment.
Sarina Shohet (she/her) is a Berkeley grad and Jewish professional dedicated to the expression of magic.