“Women experience war in distinctive, gendered ways.”

These words from Rachel Stomel of Israel’s Center for Women’s Justice have been resonating with me since I returned from my recent Women’s Leadership Solidarity Mission to Israel with women leaders from Greater Boston’s Jewish community.

Led by Idit Klein, president and CEO of Keshet; Rabbi Claudia Kreiman, senior rabbi of Temple Beth Zion; and Judith Rosenbaum, executive director of Jewish Women’s Archive, we spent close to three days participating in the holy obligation of bearing witness to the atrocities of Oct. 7. We spoke with impacted families and met with women who are both experiencing and responding to the war against Hamas in “distinctive, gendered ways.”

I left Israel with a heavy heart, and I feel that I am forever changed by the women I met—as well as, and especially, those who tragically lost their lives or continue to be held hostage. As I continue to process my time in Israel, I keep returning to Rachel’s quote and the ways that Oct. 7 has impacted and will continue to impact women and our response to the war.

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