The Jerusalem Post has founded the Gush Katif blog, written by Rabbi Ari Katz:

Until this past summer, I was a rebbe in that hesder Yeshiva, and I then I happened to see an ad in the paper for a Rosh Yeshiva in the Yeshiva high school in Gush Katif. This all took place after Sharon had announced his plan for uprooting the Jewish settlements there. I had always been very ideological, thanks to my parents education and the institutions which I had learned in. I felt that the right thing to do at the time was to move there. I saw the ad as some type of sign from Hashem, and after talking it over with my family, I went for the interview. One thing led to another, and I was offered the job.

I envy his faith, if not specifically his location.

I thought that I was coming to the Yeshiva to educate them. At the end of the day, I ended up learning a whole lot from them. I learned what true emuna is. I felt that I was able to get through this tough year because of them. I always knew that I would see them come to davening with their bright smiles everyday. I always knew that they would come to class with good spirits. I always knew that I would find them playing basketball on the court.

I was unable to explain this at first. After all these kids had gone through – the mortar shelling, the terrorist attacks, and now the danger of them losing their homes. If this scenario would happen in any other place on earth, the kids there would surely have been devastated by now, if they hadn’t run away already. But in Gush Katif the people are made of something much stronger. Hashem gives these people special powers. This was the only “logical” explanation that I could think of.

Not to be a stickler for semantics (because I would never be something like that), but I’m not sure this is a blog as much as it is a periodical column ( “Letters from Gush Katif” or “Gush Katif Diary”), and this first installment is introductory and lacks illustrative substance. Still, perhaps future installments of the column/blog/diary will provide an interesting perspective on what it’s like to live in Gush Katif now.

About the author

Esther Kustanowitz

For more posts by Esther, see, and


  • I’m sorry, I do not see the Seichel in living in a place where the government cannot or will not protect you.
    the idealism is misguided let them live in the Galil or the Negev, there is much land there for them to build communities. Everyone knew the Gaza strip would be given back eventually, and most Israelis don’t want to hold onto it, and the cost is excessive to protect people who must live on the beachfront, but cannot afford Hertziliah Pituach. I am not

  • I’m all for a united Israel, but isn’t moving to the territories after the anouncement kind of stupid? Unless more people did it, and then everyone could just flock to the Gaza strip like lemmings! Then maybe Sharon would care..

  • DJ
    everyone knew that the Gaza strip would be given back


    Many of us believed that as the map of Israel is one from the Goland to Eilat, Tel Aviv to the Dead Sea, so it would be forever.

    Even more of us believe that this plan is ridiculous, insane and virtually impossible to execute humanely. It is better to leave Jews in their homes and instead of whining about the cost of ‘defending’ them, to seriously think of ways to neutralize the threat so that so much resources wouldn’t have to be used in defense.

    Another thing, is that I really don’t think that it will happen in the end.

  • Josh,

    I happen to have an appreciation for the extreme position, on either side. But having lived in Israel during the 1970-1980’s, I am speaking from personal experience in talking w/ Israelis.

    I was an early resident of Shilo btw.

    At a certain point, the idea of ruling over the Gaza area became untenable, that is why they are giving it back, and the protest movement against it, is not that massive. It’s worldwide also. Are there major protests in the Diaspora against it? No. The majoirty of the Jewish people, are against ruling over the couple million arabs there, by keeping small settlements where Israelis have a sea view. It’s insance. The government, is unwilling to control matters as they could/should so why would you try to live there?

  • Holy crap!!! A new reason to be confused over the Gaza issue with each passing day. It really is tough being a Jew. Especially one who loves Israel and peace, while still being fairly right-wing.