On December 18, 2023, Jerry Seinfeld and his family arrived in Israel to bear witness to the horrors of October 7. He wasn’t the only celebrity in Israel for such a trip — Debra Messing, Scooter Braun and Brett Gelman are just a few of the famous Americans that visited Israel in December.
Seinfeld, who volunteered in a kibbutz in his youth, wrote about how the experience made him love “our Jewish homeland.”
“My heart is breaking from these attacks and atrocities,” he wrote on Instagram on October 9. “But we are also a very strong people in our hearts and minds. We believe in justice, freedom and equality. We survive and flourish no matter what. I will always stand with Israel and the Jewish people.”
One of the first things Seinfeld did when he landed with his family was go to the headquarters of the families of the hostages in Tel Aviv. There, according to the headquarters’ Instagram account, he “told the families that he feels a deep commitment to raising awareness around the world about the issue of the hostages, whose lives are in immediate danger. Hearing the stories, Seinfeld and his family were very moved, and it was evident that they were deeply affected by the experiences they heard from the family members and the released hostages.”
In a picture from the trip shared by Jerry’s wife Jessica Seinfeld, the comedian can be seen hugging the mother of hostage Omer Shem-Tov, who was taken into Gaza in his car from the Supernova party.
Seinfeld didn’t just visit the headquarters, though. He also spent time in Be’eri, where he met survivors and their families.
“It was very important for me to meet Jerry because my father was a big fan of his show; we watched a lot of episodes together and I know he’s laughing now from above knowing that Jerry Seinfeld made it to him,” said Yuval Haran, whose father Avshalom was killed during the attack, and whose brother-in-law, Tal Shoham, is still being held by Hamas. “We talked about the hostages and how critical time is for them. Every moment that they’re there endangers their lives and we must do everything to get them home,” Haran added.
I had the honor of surveying the Gaza Envelope Villages with Jessica and @JerrySeinfeld to witness the devastation and burned houses of Kibbutz Beeri and the location of the Nova Party. Thank you Jessica and Jerry for your support in these difficult times pic.twitter.com/u2UB0M3mSH
— avi issacharoff (@issacharoff) December 19, 2023
“It was part of our family humor and daily jokes,” Haran, who had seven members of his family taken hostage by Hamas, including his aunt Sharon Avigdori and her daughter, said about “Seinfeld.” “A lot of pleasant memories I have are around the show, including from when we lived in the U.S. for two years in the ’90s and [my dad] made sure to tell us when we were by one of the locations of the show.”
At Be’eri, the Seinfelds also visited the charred home of slain peace activist Vivian Silver, and entered, for the first time, a safe room of a home lit on fire on October 7. The family also went to the site of the Supernova festival near Re’im, where a memorial of the many victims has been erected.
Seinfeld also visited Tel Hashomer hospital with Israeli mentalist Lior Suchard, where he made patients laugh. He visited the Brothers and Sisters of Israel headquarters in Glilot. The organization, which had a strong presences in the anti-government protests of last year, was deeply involved in efforts to aid those hit by the October 7 attacks, bringing food and assistance to evacuees and those injured. He met up with Nimrod Palmach, who on the day of the October 7 attacks, defied his commander’s order to go to Jerusalem and went to help search and rescue at the site of the massacre.
Seinfeld, who was there with his family, also took some time to go to the Western Wall, eat falafel with his daughter at Shlomo and Sons in Tel Aviv — a place that his wife said has “the best falafel” — and dined in some of Tel Aviv’s most beloved restaurants, including Eyal Shani’s North Abraxas and Mashya, enjoying some ice cream at Anita before departing. He was often seen wearing a dog tag that brings attention to the plight of the Israeli hostages, calling for their swift return.
— Yossi Farro (@FarroYossi) December 26, 2023
At the end of a long day, we can always count on ‘Seinfeld’ to cheer us up. 🇮🇱🥙
And the same is true for Jerry Seinfeld in the flesh, seen here eating a falafel with his daughter in Israel.
Last week, Seinfeld came to Israel for an emotional meeting with some of the former… pic.twitter.com/vCH7cfKApr
— Rabbi Shmuel Reichman (@ReichmanShmuel) December 28, 2023
“We just got home from Israel. We wanted to see for ourselves the impacts of the October 7th attacks,” Jessica Seinfeld wrote on Instagram, detailing the many places they visited, the sites of pain and tragedy.
“As painful as it was to be in those places,” she added, “what I will remember the most is the people we met in Israel. Heroes who rescued and saved thousands of lives. Young people from New York who came to work in farms to replace those who have gone to fight against Hamas. Former hostages and families of those still being held who have been through trauma but are still seeking to help. Extraordinary individuals who have come together to provide emergency assistance through citizen service.”
She said that in her five visits to Israel throughout her life, she had never seen a more “unified country… Everyone has come together for a greater cause – to defeat Hamas, to build a better and safer Israel, and a better, safer world.”
Our amazing Birthright Israel Onward volunteers bumped into @jerryseinfeld in Tel Aviv! 🤩
— Birthright Israel (@birthright) December 28, 2023