RESPONDING TO THE NOW.

For the best viewing experience, we recommend viewing the issue on desktop.

Creative Director

Mia Hancock

 

Poetry Editors

Emmy Roday

Elizabeth Ruty Shehter 

Gillian Egusquiza

 

Prose Editors

Alex Tetarevsky

Liel Asulin 

Maia Dori

Tamara Rosin 

 

Visual Art Editors

Tamara Rosin 

Tania Azaryad

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. 

With love,
The WRITE-HAUS team

poem #48

Blossom Hibbert

Our sky only beautiful when it is dangerous in
copper torrents my feet tread intimately with
nonsense often intrigued by those bright green
eyes on top of His
lit cigarette under drizzling rain of streetish
atmosphere & can you hear? Wet foxes making love
whilst Our people sit in their dark living rooms
knitting shiva into a fleece of rags?
By the fireplace? You can’t hear it? Whilst the
hostages cross an Egyptian border to
safety, I can hear it

LOST IN TRANSLATION

Leenoy Margalit

My baby cousin (who is no longer a baby but an 11 year old boy I once held in my arms) takes my hand in his and leads me behind the house to the backyard that has become a farm. As he feeds the four goats and two sheep and one dog and twelve ducklings, he teaches me that the Hebrew word for pomegranate is the same word for hand grenade. We talk about paper airplanes and remote controlled cars and war but not about school. We pick and eat figs off the tree my mother climbed as a child, and he laughs when I confuse the words shrapnel and eyelashes. He tells me that each time the sirens end, he runs to the field behind the farm to collect the rocket fragments scattered between grass blades. When he shows me, he holds each piece of metal in his palm like a prize you bring the class for show and tell. He asks me how big our bomb shelter is in America. He tells me he is not scared. Not like his sisters who still sleep in their mom’s bed and take short showers. He knows exactly what to do by now. We walk back towards the house carrying fruit in our shirts, my hand still in his. A year from now, I will be somewhere in America where we do not have bomb shelters and my baby cousin will be here. And he will still pick figs and feed the goats and the sheep and the dog that ate the ducklings. He will talk about paper airplanes and remote controlled cars and war. At the same time, someone else picks eyelashes off of an 11 year old boy who is not my baby cousin. And later we will hear about the pomegranate that burst open. How the red stained everything for days.

Pain is familiar here

Maayan Agmon

                       Yet again I am faced with my cowardness. Although I’m not so sure it’s that anymore; it feels more like paralysis. A strong urge to shut down. A grand tiredness that causes unsettling thoughts. Sometimes my iPhone memories show pictures from the trip in India, and it seems as if these are the only moments my heart gets a break. Yesterday I remembered the mountain. 3,500 m. 3,800 m. 4,000 m. 4,200 m. These are no longer heights upon which to walk or breathe, these are heights where you go up and go on because soon you will start going down. You can go back, but not really: it will take two days. Again, the thought creeps in, but it will already take three, four, five days – so you go on. And it’s beautiful. So beautiful. There is no beauty like that. You see, this beauty is engraved in my mind, it gives me a moment to smile within the inferno. Even though there wasn’t enough air. Somehow there is. But still, you go to sleep early, you walk slowly, and you take many breaks. 

                       My dad thinks I should pursue a career in politics. That there is room for my voice. My mom advises me to go abroad for a while and see how human rights organizations work there, get some air and perspective. Sometimes people ask me, “Wait, don’t you work at that place with the Palestinians?” They say they imagine it must be really hard now, and ask what we do with the kids there, and how do we explain it to them? And I do work at that place with the Palestinians, but now I don’t know if I’m allowed to talk about it or not. And I’m not that convinced that there is room for my voice. And if there is, I still haven’t learned how to demand that room. Frankly, if I had a voice, it would have made things easier, but right now all I have is a body, and it’s tired and hurting and in disbelief. The body slices into itself.  Its frustrated screams quietly diffuse into its own cells, adding stone after stone on the pancreas, liver, lungs, spleen, kidneys. 

                       Here, in the silence, I might know only a little, but I know what pain is, and it feels like a lot. Other people speak and for a second I feel like I find myself, but not really. How do you explain what Ahavat-Hinam1  is? How do you describe God, and why does each person hear her speak differently?

                       The streets are talking, commemorating, and fighting, using spray paint and brushes. For a moment there I think maybe I will also speak among them. Yet again I am faced with my cowardness. Although I’m not so sure it’s that anymore, perhaps obedience. A belief in law and order. A sense of respect to the surrounding. This respect is what asks me to pick up the old snack wrapper from the street and put it into the garbage. It is the image of the young scout. The ambulance First Responder. The lonely person who is not afraid. But fear is important. In the summer, in Europe, I told my friends about the situation here2. About how this year during a protest someone tried to run my brother and I over. About how this year during a protest the cops rolled people down the grassy slope of the highway bridge. About how this year during a protest a white car stopped and from it came a driver wearing short pants, a Tassel tank top3 and a knife. Where is my fear? Where are my legs? How are they still walking? How can they still protest?

                       I am chasing Pandora, asking her to reopen the box. There, we both unleashed hope and it’s now in the air, somewhere 4,200 m high. Here in Israel we don’t have heights like that. 

                       There are horrors they will not understand. There are horrors we will not understand. I have no way to hold all of this suffering. I can hug the person in front of me. What else can I say but “I love”? People are people are people are people. What are you thinking about before you fall asleep? I am not thinking, it is only the wine that makes me feel slightly fine.  

Ahavat-Hinam in a free translation is simply “free love”, however it is a phrase taken from rabbis such as Rabbi Yehezkel from Kuzmir and Rabbi Isaac Kook. It is a phrase that came as a contrast to free hate, claiming that the only thing that can face hate is love. The only thing that can stand in front of destruction and bring about the building of something new is free love. 

Before the 7th of October was a year with weekly protests against the government and for democracy

A Tassel tank top is a Jewish religious garment for men

ושוב אני ניצבת בפני הפחדנות שלי. למרות שאני לא בטוחה שזאת פחדנות כבר, יותר מרגיש כמו שיתוק. רצון עז להיכבות. תשישות גדולה שגורמת למחשבות מערערות. לפעמים בזיכרונות של האייפון קופצות לי תמונות מהטיול בהודו ונראה שאלה הרגעים הבודדים שהלב שלי מקבל רגיעה. אתמול נזכרתי בהר. 3,500 מטר. 3,800 מטר. 4,000 מטר. 4,200 מטר. זה כבר לא גבהים ללכת או לנשום בהם, זה גבהים שעולים וממשיכים, יודעים שתכף תתחיל הירידה למטה. אפשר לחזור אחורה אבל לא באמת, זה ייקח יומיים. שוב המחשבה מזדחלת, אבל הפעם כבר ייקח שלושה, ארבעה, חמישה- אז ממשיכים. ויפה. כל כך יפה. אין יפה כזה. הנה, היפה הזה חרוט לי בראש, היפה הזה נותן לי רגע לחייך בתוך התופת. אפילו שלא היה אוויר. איכשהו יש. אבל עדיין; הולכים לישון מוקדם, והולכים לאט ועושים הרבה הפסקות. 

 

אבא שלי חושב שאני יכולה וחייבת להיות בפוליטיקה. שלקול שלי יש מקום. אמא שלי ממליצה לי ללכת לחו״ל קצת ולראות איך ארגוני זכויות אדם עובדים שם, לקבל קצת אוויר ופרספקטיבה. מדי פעם שואלים אותי ״תגידי, את לא עובדת במקום הזה עם הפלסטינים?״ וחושבים שבטח זה נורא קשה עכשיו ומה אנחנו עושים שם עם הילדים ואיך אנחנו מסבירים. ואני באמת עובדת במקום הזה עם הפלסטינים אבל אני כבר לא יודעת אם מותר לספר על זה או לא. ואני לא כל כך משוכנעת שלקול שלי יש מקום. ואם יש, אני עוד לא למדתי איך לדרוש את המקום הזה. האמת, אם היה לי קול זה היה מקל על העניינים, אבל כרגע יש לי רק גוף. והוא עייף וכואב ולא מבין ולא מאמין. הוא מפלח בתוכנו, בתוכי ובתוכו, את הצעקות המתוסכלות שלו, מכניס אותן לתאים בלחש, מעמיס על הלבלב והכבד והריאות והטחול והכליות- אבנים. 

 

כאן, בדממה, אני אמנם יודעת מעט, אבל יודעת כאב, וזה מרגיש כמו הרבה. אנשים אחרים מדברים ולרגע אני מרגישה שאני מוצאת את עצמי, אבל גם זה לא באמת. איך להסביר מה זה אהבת חינם, איך מתארים את אלוהים, ואיך זה שכל אחד שומע אותה מדברת אחרת? 

 

הרחובות מדברים, מנציחים ורבים בעזרת ספריי ומכחול, ולרגע אני חושבת שאולי גם אני אדבר בתוכם. שוב אני ניצבת בפני הפחדנות שלי. למרות שאני לא בטוחה שזאת פחדנות, אולי ציות. אמונה בחוק ובסדר. כבוד למרחב. הכבוד הזה הוא שמבקש ממני לאסוף עטיפת חטיף מהרצפה ולשים בפח. זה הדמות של השומרת הצעירה. המע״רית. הבודדה שלא מפחדת. אבל הפחד הוא חשוב. בקיץ באירופה סיפרתי לחברים על המצב פה. על איך שהשנה בזמן הפגנה ניסו לדרוס אותי ואת אח שלי. על איך שהשנה בזמן הפגנה השוטרים גלגלו אנשים למטה מהדשא מתחת ליציאת איילון שדרות רוקח. על איך שהשנה בזמן הפגנה מכונית לבנה עצרה ומתוכה יצא הנהג עם מכנס קצר, גופיית ציצית וסכין. איפה הפחד שלי? איפה הרגליים שלי? איך זה שהן עדיין הולכות? עדיין מוחות? 

 

אני רודפת אחרי פנדורה, מבקשת שתפתח שוב את התיבה. הנה, יחד הוצאנו את התקווה והיא באוויר, איפשהו בגובה 4,200 מטר. פה בארץ אין לנו כאלה גבהים.

 

יש זוועות שהם לא יבינו. יש גם זוועות שאנחנו לא נבין. אין לי איך להחזיק את כל הסבל. יש לי איך לחבק את האדם שמולי. מה עוד אגיד חוץ מ-״אני אוהבת״? אנשים הם אנשים הם אנשים הם אנשים. על מה את חושבת לפני שאת נרדמת? אני לא חושבת, זה רק היין שעושה קצת נעים.

Layers of The Unseen 01, Photograph

Mona Haj

Layers of The Unseen 02, Photograph

Mona Haj

Detail 01, Photograph

Ronit Holtz

MEDITATION

Daniel Niv

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?

U

H

E

S

s

C

N

S

SUCHNESS

Lior Maayan

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,

Not because.

 

 

Untitled

Photograph by Diana Dawahdi Shalash

Artwork by Mona Haj

It Shall Pass, Ballpoint Pen Drawing edited Digitally

Mona Haj

Bring Them Back, Paper Collage/Digital

Aida Bechar

SPILLED MILK

Leeor Margalit

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

Moriya Kaplan

They Soon Will Become Angels, Oil on Canvas

Moriya Kaplan

Yarden Roman, Digital Illustration

Didi Kfir

Things That Words Cannot Describe,

Digital Illustration

Didi Kfir 

A WORD

NO ONE

REMEMBERS

Bruce Black

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

Marina Grechanik

Freedom Rally, Watercolor and Acrylic in sketchbook

Marina Grechanik

even our tears will fill the trunk of a tree

Sarina Shohet

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

it feeds.

Bring Me Back, Paper Collage

Aida Bechar

Freedom Now Rally, Watercolor and colored pencils in sketchbook

Marina Grechanik

Bring Them Home 1, Acrylic Markers in Sketchbook

Marina Grechanik

After October 7th

Abby Yucht

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,

deadened tongues,

 

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.

CONTRIBUTORS

Abby Yucht

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

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

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

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

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

Leeor Margalit is studying linguistics at Tel Aviv University. She enjoys reading, writing, traveling, and photographing her friends. 

Lior Maayan

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 Grechanik

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

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 Kaplan

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 Holtz

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

Sarina Shohet (she/her) is a Berkeley grad and Jewish professional dedicated to the expression of magic.