From the Newsletter | Anything but Normal

By | Oct 13, 2023
image shows a black and white blurred train station with people walking through it. The words Moment Minute and the outline of a clock overlay the train station image.

October 7, 2023, is a day we will never forget. As one of our U.S.-based editors remarked in a meeting, “It feels like 9/11,” except that when he goes out, it seems strange to see other people going about their business as if everything is normal. Like you, we here at Moment are feeling anything but normal. We are mourning the horrific loss of lives, waking up in the middle of the night agonizing over the plight of the hostages, worrying about the security of friends and family members in Israel, and concerned about the dangers of a full-scale Gaza invasion. 

But at this shocking and painful time in Jewish history, Moment’s journalists are also working around the clock. For example, if you haven’t already watched it, view our MomentLive! conversation with my colleagues Aaron David Miller and Robert Siegel. Aaron is the Middle East analyst and former peace negotiator who serves on our Moment Institute Middle East Fellows board and Robert is a Moment contributor and the former host of NPR’s All Things Considered. (You can read a transcript of the interview here.) I think you will agree that Aaron’s insightful analysis of the Israel-Hamas war and how it will reshape the region and world order—as well as Robert’s thoughtful questions and reassuring manner—are an invaluable contribution to current news coverage.

Speaking of news coverage, I’ve had quite a few conversations with people over the past few days who are glued to their televisions, computers or smartphones and who are, understandably, deeply anxious and depressed. Please be careful: Many studies have shown the adverse effects that watching videos depicting violence and its aftermath has on our brains, and while it’s important to bear witness to history, it’s not a human (or Jewish) responsibility to watch or share every video or photo. (Not to mention that not all the footage is authentic. Read Moment Social Media Manager Andrew Michaels’ “Misinformation About the War Abounds Online.”) Back when video first became an easily accessible technology, I wrote a newspaper story about its use in war, and since then I’ve watched how the terrorists of the world have become masters at manipulating our emotions with graphic images of hostages and executions. We need to keep in mind that they want us to be afraid and angry. It helps them and their causes, not necessarily the people depicted in the videos.  

So, unless you are an intelligence analyst, a journalist or someone searching for visual clues, pay attention to your image intake. The war and its aftermath are not going away any time soon—and we all need to stay sane. So that you stay well informed, we are posting new articles everyday on and are scheduling additional enlightening MomentLive! broadcasts. Already up is an essay by Moment columnist Fania Oz-Salzberger, the daughter of the late Israeli novelist Amos Oz, who has taken up his mantle as an Israeli voice to be reckoned with. She writes:

Never has the Israeli army gathered and butchered Palestinian civilians, elderly and disabled persons and children and babies and nursing mothers, and shot them to death. Never have civilians been deliberately massacred, with not a military target in sight. Never has the mass slaughter of innocents been met with such jubilant celebration and glee. Israel has made numerous mistakes, over-bombed crowded areas while trying to reach armed militants and headquarters, and civilian deaths were the collateral damage, possibly avoidable and possibly not. ‘Collateral’ is an awful word, to be sure, but it means ‘unintended.’ Not deliberate, not jubilant, not Nazi-like.

Moment Institute Senior Fellow Nathan Guttman has filed a special edition of Jewish Politics and Power, which looks at the ways the Biden administration has embraced Israel since the attack. Moment Contributor Dan Raviv suggests handing Gaza to the Palestinian Authority, in an opinion piece that begins with the sobering two sentences: “Everything’s dark, and everyone’s angry. That’s the way it’s been since Saturday morning, when history repeated itself: Israel was again taken by surprise by its enemies, just like exactly 50 years ago on Yom Kippur.” There’s also Editor Sarah Breger’s interview with historian Jonathan Dekel-Chen, whose son Sagui is one of the American Israelis assumed to be held hostage in Gaza, and Deputy Editor Jennifer Bardi’s story “Americans Rally, Rage and Grieve After Attack on Israel” about reactions both for and against Israel.

Access Moment’s ongoing coverage of the Hamas-Israel war here.

Coming soon are more articles, interviews and explainers to help guide you through the maelstrom of information—and help ground you. This is what we do at Moment and why we are here. For you. 

We can’t do this important work without you, so I hope you’ll consider making a contribution to support Moment today. 

Please stay safe and stay calm. And when you can’t sleep at night, remember, we are all in this together.

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