The 1948 war between Jews and Palestinians is still the subject of heated debate. This article attempts to describe the events of the war, as experienced in real time by Jewish members of that generation, using letters and diaries written by civilians and fighters, men and women, during the months from November 29, 1947, until the second cease-fire in late July 1948. These materials describe how Jews in Jerusalem under siege felt, reacted, and perceived what they were going through. The article highlights the atmosphere in the street, reactions to the growing number of casualties, varied attitudes to the Palestinian enemy, the fragility of Jewish society and social tensions, different gender perceptions of women and their roles in the war, and the responses of Holocaust survivors to the war. It is thus a social and cultural history of the war of 1948.