Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?


The Power of Music in a Time of War

How have I survived the past 3 weeks in the aftermath of the Hamas attack and ensuing war in Israel? Music.

Israel Flags

In the early hours of October 7th, my iPhone began to vibrate almost without pause; it was 3 a.m. in New Jersey and our neighborhood here on the Jersey Shore that is heavily Sephardic was fast asleep on the Sabbath and Sukkot holiday. Little did any of us know that the State of Israel was under attack from Hamas.

Failing to find my glasses in the dark and almost tripping over the dog who was snoring on his pillow at the foot of the bed, I managed to navigate the dark into the bathroom and turn on the lights.

Nobody writes me at that time and before I even opened my phone, I became nervous that my eldest who attends college out-of-state was in trouble and that she was reaching out in a moment of desperation.

Much to my horror, my texts and WhatsApp feed were filled with panicked messages from members of our immediate family who were sending me updates about what was occurring along the Gaza border in the Negev and from safe rooms in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, BeerSheva, and even Kibbutz Yagur which is located on the southern slopes of Mt. Carmel outside of Haifa.

Israel Landscape

Yagur was not under attack but family and friends were frantically looking for news about children and friends who lived in some of the Kibbutzim being ravaged and were stationed in the Negev as part of their IDF service.

When I scrolled through some of the texts, I was shocked to find some from immediate family in Jerusalem and cousins in Beit Shemesh who are Sabbath-observant and unlikely to ever use a phone at that time. Not ever.

I quietly dressed and made a point of not disturbing the rest of my family who were sleeping, and walked outside to start responding.

Standing in the dark in my driveway reading the news and piecing together what was occurring was not only horrifying and confusing but only the beginning of 9 days of zero sleep, Zoom funerals, and very little help from the State Department trying to get 11 members of my family home.

Israeli Records Purchased

We were one of the founding families of Kibbutz Yagur, members of the Irgun, and deeply involved in the creation of Herut; which would eventually become the Likud Party in Israel.

All of that should make it clear where I stand, but this is not meant to be a political diatribe and those who disagree with my views are free to comment on Twitter or Telegram with the cheerleaders from America’s “elite” academic institutions.

I won’t pretend that the past 3 weeks have not taken a toll on me. Having viewed both the images, videos, and content shared across social media — the funerals of so many with whom I share blood or the children of friends who were slaughtered at the Festival in the Negev — I am beyond drained.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

There are stories that I know based on evidence that will begin to surface on social media that what occurred on October 7th was even more depraved than you even know at this point. I wept at my computer more than once trying to understand how it was possible. Having been raised by Holocaust survivors, the past 3 weeks have torn apart my rather hard exterior when it comes to these things.

Beyond fundraising, taking those who needed to return from holidays to their units in Israel to the airports in 4 states, and retrieving family members who took the long way home — I have felt utterly useless. Even 3,000 angry tweets have not calmed my rage or alleviated my sense of grief.

Kidnapped Person Sign

Writing has filled the void somewhat; and I’m sure many in the aftermath of 9/11 felt something very similar, but music has been the only thing to keep me from losing it completely.

Listening to our most recent podcast with Dr. Neta Maimon, who joined us from Netanya, Israel, to discuss her research into how the brain reacts to music and how it can be used to diagnose cognitive decline and help with trauma, certainly helped and can be found here.

Listening to some of my favorite Israeli artists like Yishay Ribo, Ofra Haza, Shlomo Artzi, Shoshana Damari, Esther Ofarim, Naomi Shemer and Asaf Avidan has at least given me some sense of home.

Craft Recordings were very kind to send me an advance copy of their Thelonious Monk, Brilliant Corners reissue which is part of their Small Batch series and I may wear out the grooves before this conflict ends.

Thelonious Monk Album

Princeton Record Exchange has seen me three times already since the war started and each trip results in my return trip home with a bag filled with used jazz and rock CDs. Sleep has been so difficult that I sit in the dark at night on the sofa listening to music with the hope that I will fall asleep.


I also must thank the very kind people at Bowers & Wilkins and Nicoll Communications who reached out and sent me a pair of Px7 S2e wireless headphones so that I could pass the time listening to music waiting in airports and for my trip to Israel in late-November.

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2e Wireless Headphones Black in Box

Listening to music has allowed me to refocus and not let the grief overwhelm when I have so much writing and editing to accomplish each day.

If you have any music suggestions right now, your esteemed EIC would be most grateful.

Am Yisroel Chai!!



  1. Pete

    October 31, 2023 at 2:07 pm

    I wish you strength and comfort now and during the difficult times ahead. I hope music can help heal the injuries you have suffered.

    • Ian White

      October 31, 2023 at 6:20 pm


      Much appreciated. It’s been a brutal month. Music is keeping me sane at the moment.


      Ian White

  2. David

    October 31, 2023 at 3:45 pm


    I hope for the all the best for you and all your kin. I don’t keep up with the news, specifically to keep myself from the heartache that would ensue from its consumption, but I am aware of the attacks on Israel. It certainly doesn’t surprise me that the American academic elite would seek to thrust the spear into the sides of the Jewish state.

    When I am looking for peace through music, which is nearly every evening, I find great comfort in Enya, B-Tribe, Enigma, David Arkenstone and the like.



    • Ian White

      October 31, 2023 at 6:21 pm


      Appreciate that very much. It’s been tough on a lot of levels; especially as the parent of a college senior at a school where anti-Israel protests have been quite intense.


      Ian White

  3. Ernie M

    November 4, 2023 at 11:49 pm

    My sincere heart and prayers go out to you, your family, friends, and Israel. The party you speak of is conservative, so that is very good. Terrorism is evil,vand I know as a conservative Christian, I am always at risk for standing up for what I know is right. I am glad you can listen to music, and have the freedom to do so, in spite of what has happened in the world. Good leaders, and leadership are so important. When the election was stolen from President Trump, this affected many people, and countries. We need people like Donald Trump and your prime minister. Thank you deeply for your article, sharing your heart, and love for music. God bless and peace to you and Israel always.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You May Also Like


The best high-end wireless headphones of 2023? The revised Bowers & Wilkins Px8 have dethroned their rival across the English Channel.


Find out what evidence supports the recent claim that the blues were invented in the 1890s by Black Creoles in New Orleans.


Dr. Neta Maimon discusses how music affects the brain and debunks some myths audiophiles may be holding onto.


What were the albums that shaped us? EIC Ian White goes first in this new series about the most important albums that affected us...


What separates a hit song from those that never had their 15 minutes of fame? We revisit My Father's House by Bruce Springsteen.


Limited to 4,000 individually numbered copies worldwide, the latest Thelonious Monk vinyl reissue features all-analog, one-step mastering.


The innovative trumpeter’s postmodern masterpiece features an all-star line-up, including Gary Bartz, Ron Carter and Lenny White


Mixed on Focal #5 has been released by Focal Naim America and is available to consumers as a playlist on TIDAL, Qobuz, Amazon Music...


ecoustics is a hi-fi and music magazine offering product reviews, podcasts, news and advice for aspiring audiophiles, home theater enthusiasts and headphone hipsters. Read more

Copyright © 1999-2024 ecoustics | Disclaimer: We may earn a commission when you buy through links on our site.

SVS Bluesound PSB Speakers NAD Q Acoustics RSL Speakers ProjectorScreen Focal Naim Audio Cambridge Audio