DebbieWinks – Debbie’s Blog from Israel #13

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DebbieWinks — Blog #13 — January, 2024

Blog #13 Debbie’s Blog (aka Rachel Devorah from Israel)

Shalom to all of you near and far,

I wanted to write a blog back in November, two months ago, to mark the one-year anniversary of our return Aliyah to Eretz Israel. However the October 7th, 2023, Black Sabbath barbarism mercilessly detoured me.

This collective trauma has transformed me. When people ask me my name, I often tell them that my name is Rachel Devorah. These were the Hebrew names given to me to honor the memories of my family members who perished during the Holocaust.

Three months into this war with Hamas and I feel that I have been in this country for an exceptionally long time! When I am driving, I often listen to the radio and one of my favorite broadcasts is called; “The Voice of Mom” (“Kola shel Ima”). Messages by loved ones to loved ones who have been away fighting this terrible war on our behalf are sent into the radio station. These messages are heartwarming and heartbreaking. The messages written by children and read aloud are exceptionally poignant. Moms are dealing with raising their kids and working in and out of the house. Spouses are often away in the army for 30-60 days before they get to come home for a short visit.

The women of Israel whose family members are away at war are holding up the fort. Life has been disrupted in so many facets for those in their homes and especially for those families who have been evacuated and are living in hotels or temporary lodgings in kibbutzim or dorms.

While walking one day in early December in my neighborhood in my beloved town of Pardes Hanna, I came across a small board in front of a private home that had many postcards mounted for display. I was curious and stopped to understand the photos and the short captions written in Hebrew. The homeowner Noah saw me looking at the board and invited me inside her home. She gave me a pile of these postcards as well as a large poster to distribute as I wish. Most of these images are of females and drawn in nostalgic wartime images. All of them have a message to uplift, support and understand what the female and male warriors inside and outside the country are called upon to do. I chose not to distribute the large poster but rather to mount it in my living room.

The artist of this series is Kineret Tzach, and like so many Israelis has emerged creatively and compassionately helping to raise the moral of a country at war with an enemy who wants to beat and fracture our spirit.

A comprehensive volunteer-based initiative called HaOgen ensures that families are not alone during times of conflict. This initiative has grown into a nationwide network of volunteers. Volunteers help with babysitting, cooking, and pet care for the families of reserve soldiers. HaOgen’s primary goal is to provide services to ease the burden on families and to strengthen the home front during times of war. ‘HaOgen’ is a Hebrew word that means ‘the anchor’.

Volunteers like Kineret Tzach and those working with families for HaOgen are just two examples of countless caring Israeli citizens and grassroots organizations coming together to help unconditionally.

Living in Israel since November 9th, 2022, and living post October 7th, 2023, has anchored me deeper into this Jewish homeland of ours.

Am Israel Chai!

Rachel Devorah




Debbie Havusha

Debbie Winks 😊



  1. Violeta Esquinazi

    Debbie, thanks for sharing the collective sadness and unity of our Am Israel. I can tell you that we here in Vancouver haven’t fallen short of love, unity, and solidarity towards our Israeli family. In our lifetime we have not ever experienced the world’s madness vis-a-vis a common enemy. Being outnumbered, we fear, we worry, we cry and sing just the same. Our weekly rallies keep us connected and united, especially when we march on Georgia and Robson Streets, traffic blocked by the VPD, and we shout for the release of our hostages. You are missed here but I am sure your life in Israel, albeit troubling with next-door neighbors wishing our extinction, the “ruach” of our Homeland is something undescribable, as is our Am Israel. Loved your last paragraph a lot, which is an oxymoron from my last blog when I left Israel. I wrote that I lacked the anchor of being away from my daughters. Wish you lots of health and emuna. Amen.