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What Matters Now to mourning mother Hannah Wacholder Katsman: Personal & national grief

On October 7, Hayim Katsman was killed by terrorists from Gaza at Kibbutz Holit as he shielded a neighbor with his body. Knowing her son is a hero doesn’t help, says his mother

Deputy Editor Amanda Borschel-Dan is the host of The Times of Israel's Daily Briefing and What Matters Now podcasts and heads up The Times of Israel's Jewish World and Archaeology coverage.

Welcome to What Matters Now, a weekly podcast exploration of one key issue shaping Israel and the Jewish World — right now.

Days after his 32nd birthday, Hayim Katsman was killed by terrorists from Gaza in his neighbor’s home in Kibbutz Holit while shielding her with his body on Saturday, October 7.

His body was identified and the family was notified the next day. He was buried on Thursday of that week.

Born to American immigrant parents and one of six children, Hayim was a scholar of philosophy and earned a PhD in political science. He was active in several local peace organizations. He was also a musician, mechanic and gardener.

Hayim’s mother, Hannah Wacholder Katsman, a writer and women’s rights activist, joined Amanda Borschel-Dan in The Times of Israel’s Jerusalem office for this week’s What Matters Now.

As Hannah wrote in an essay for The Times of Israel, “I realized early on that because Hayim’s death was part of our national story, the mourning would be public.”

We hear about her way of openly mourning and how it has helped others with their national grief and of the continuing ripple effect of Hayim’s murder.

As the world increasingly forgets what spawned the ongoing war in Gaza, we focus on one son, and ask his mother, what matters now.

What Matters Now podcasts are available for download on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, YouTube or wherever you get your podcasts. This episode was produced by the Pod-Waves. 

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