Photo Credit: Utilisateur:Djampa / Wikimedia
Aish HaTorah in the Old City of Jerusalem, May 2017

An online chat that helps unaffiliated and disconnected Jews around the world rediscover their heritage has morphed into a support system for those grappling with disturbing antisemitism and other issues in the wake of the October 7th massacre by Hamas terrorists in southern Israel. reports that its live web chat service, which pops up on the organization’s homepage and allows anyone to chat directly with one of the organization’s leading rabbis, has seen a staggering 300 percent increase in usage since last fall.


Since October 7th, the once “helpful” online outreach effort has become a lifeline.

The organization reports more than 5,000 chat responses now coming in each month, averaging more than 225 conversations per day. Many of the chats blossom into extended conversations, guiding inquirers on substantive journeys to reclaim their Jewish identities and connect with other Jews.

“We’re hearing from so many Jews who feel profoundly disconnected, whether due to living in areas with little Jewish community or lack of affiliation growing up,” said Rabbi Tzvi Broker, who oversees’s Live Chat.

“The personal nature of these interactions, coupled with their anonymity, creates a safe space to ask questions and begin exploring. Having a live Rabbi to connect and share with, has been a draw for many, and we’re seeing lives transformed as a result.”

The surge has been driven by a combination of factors – a backlash to rising antisemitism, curiosity about Israel stirred by last October’s massacre, a yearning for meaning and community in the face of life’s uncertainties, and a desire for deeper meaning and spirituality in the face of a fast-paced modern culture where spiritual needs have been put on a back burner for too long.

The rabbi told that many of the people who seek out the online rabbis are grappling with emotional issues resulting from the onslaught of antisemitism they are facing abroad.

But there are also a significant number of people who are asking the rabbis why God is causing such heartache for His People, the rabbi said.

“For sure. Honestly, the ‘Why is God doing this?’ questions are coming from the frum (religious) folk,” Broker commented. “The emotional challenges come from both. But this is more of a minority response.”

Among those seeking answers was Loren, a Jew living in rural New Hampshire*. (Ed.: Name and location has been changed to maintain anonymity.)

“Decades later after my attempt to raise my three children Jewish, I am finally taking the time to focus on my faith, and am blown away by the utter courage, strength, and historical greatness of the State of Israel and of the Jewish people,” Loren said.

“October 7th, for some strange reason, was shocking and paralyzing for me! Since then I have joined the nearby community and latched on to a few more resources for learning.”

An initial chat on blossomed into an ongoing dialogue via WhatsApp, with the rabbis counseling Loren on how to actualize her rekindled passion and prepare for an upcoming visit to Israel. Her story is one of many journeys being sparked by the chats.

Rachel, who described herself as a secular Jew in South Africa, was also deeply impacted by last October’s events.

“Since the 7th I’ve started lighting candles and reading the Torah,” she said. “I think it’s about connection – I want to feel connected to God – because after the war I realized we can’t control anything. This war has upset me so much- friends and family there- people who have had family members killed – it felt overwhelming – and I saw all the soldiers asking for tzitzit etc….and it suddenly struck me all we can do is surrender to God – this is too big for us,” she added.

Through the chat, Rachel opened up about spending time studying Buddhism and her interest in Kabbalah. The Live Chat team were able to connect her with the organization’s local branch in South Africa to continue her spiritual journey locally. and founder Bob Diener, who provided seed funding for the Live Chat program, expressed deep satisfaction with the results.

“The chat has been a powerful way for people to connect one-on-one with a spiritual leader and have their unique questions answered in a non-threatening and non-intimidating way. The chat’s rabbis are connecting so many people to their roots who otherwise don’t know where to go for guidance,” Diener said.

“The chats have had a deep impact on many disconnected from the Jewish community,” the Aish CEO Rabbi Steven Burg observed.

“Each of the people we connect with demonstrates a broad yearning to explore Jewish spirituality, peoplehood, and identity and that is why they have been turning to Aish for connection and guidance. We are happy to provide both while connecting them with local Jewish communities in their area, if there is one, to continue their journey.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.