Stories & Voices
When an Arts Center Becomes a Command Center
October 11th, 2023

Just hours after the horrific attacks by Hamas, a student at the Jerusalem Campus for the Arts asked the director of the Nissan Nativ Acting Studio — one of the schools located on the campus — if he could use the building to coordinate a volunteer response. Since then, efforts have ballooned, with about 1,000 volunteers every day.  

The Jerusalem Campus for the Arts, a UJA initiative, opened its doors in November 2022 as a diverse, inclusive center for creative collaboration. Today, it’s a wartime command center.

Every corner is filled with grass-roots organizations and groups of people — young and old who have not been called up for service — thinking, mobilizing, and creatively collaborating.

Volunteers are relocating families who’ve had to flee their homes. They’re collecting and putting together care packages for those whose homes have been destroyed. They’re raising funds for soldiers who desperately need gear, equipment, and personal care items and they’re organizing transportation for them to get to and from their bases. And students from the Nissan Nativ Acting Studio are traveling throughout the country to displaced families, babysitting and performing to distract children.  

The Nissan Nativ Acting Studio has also become an overnight shelter. Jerusalem families without safe rooms are spending their nights here — every night, indefinitely, with 24/7 security.  

The Jerusalem Campus for the Arts was built for creative collaboration. Now, this collaboration is saving lives.