The war in Israel is shattering our preconceptions about what it means to be Jewish and Zionist

As the Jewish Diaspora rallies for Israel, cracks have been emerging in what we believed to be true about the Jewish state. (Photo by Levi Clancy / Wikimedia Commons)

After two weeks of war between Israel and Hamas with no resolution in sight, many Jews have experienced a similar phenomenon: non-Jewish friends asking how they’re doing. And while the answers will of course vary, even among the more ambivalent crowd, it’s causing self-reflection about not just how we as individuals are doing, but how we as a global community are reacting.

For Phoebe Maltz Bovy and Bonjour Chai producer Zac Kauffman, the war has sparked fundamental questions about what it means to be Jewish in the 21st century. How settler identity is warped into European identity—and neither one fits Jews very well. And how Israel’s conceptia, its illusion that it has this infallible army and an Iron Dome to keep it safe, has been totally shattered. And how Israel may not, in fact, be the one safe haven for Jews in the world, as it was originally conceived; it may in fact be one of the most dangerous. A lot of preconceived notions are being broken right now—and we’re here to unpack what that means.


Bonjour Chai is hosted by Avi Finegold and Phoebe Maltz Bovy. Zachary Kauffman is the producer and editor. Michael Fraiman is the executive producer. Our theme music is by Socalled. The show is a co-production from The Jewish Learning Lab and The CJN, and is distributed by The CJN Podcast Network. Support the show by subscribing to this podcast, donating to The CJN and subscribing to the podcast’s Substack.