By Faygie Levy – Chabad.org
Photos: Meir Alfasi / CTVP.ORG
With tens of thousands of Israel Defense Force troops amassed at the Gaza border prepared for an incursion at any moment, and Hamas rockets continuing to threaten the lives of millions of people in every part of Israel, there were renewed calls for prayer, study and acts of kindness in support of all those in danger throughout the nation.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Thursday afternoon that “up until now, the campaign is progressing as planned, but we anticipate further stages,” and that there is “a difficult, complex battle ahead of us.” Some 100,000 Gazans living near the border were warned to evacuate the area immediately.
All over the world—in synagogues and community centers, Chabad Houses, private homes and on social media—people have been discussing and dedicating themselves to different ways of helping, both spiritually and materially.
Chabad.org has created an article “What Can I Do to Help Our Brothers and Sisters in Israel?” that provides a guide to practical action.
In Israel, the Chabad Terror Victims Project continues to visit civilians—especially frightened children—and soldiers, offering them physical and spiritual nourishment, while numerous young volunteers from theLubavitch Youth Organization of Israel are lending a hand to help in any way they can.
At the hundreds of Chabad centers throughout Israel, emissaries are reaching out to those in their communities night and day, opening their homes and hearts to those in need.
Some Respite Under Fire
In Ashdod, for example, some families found their local Chabad House to be a respite from the situation, with special activities geared for children.
“We had tables with games and three different areas—one for toddlers and infants with building blocks and small musical instruments, a kindergarten area with arts-and-crafts and games, and an area with other board games,” saidChanah Friedman, co-director of Chabad of the “City” in Ashdod with her husband, Rabbi Yosef Friedman, earlier this evening, just before another terrifying volley of rockets blasted over the city.
Located 32 miles from the Gaza border, Ashdod has been the target of more than 100 rocket attacks in recent days.
Some 50 children came out to enjoy the different activities; there was even an impromptu birthday party for a 5-year-old who, along with her family, were visiting the region from their home in Moscow.
Despite being housed in a building that was hit during a rocket attack some 18 months ago (it has since been rebuilt), Friedman’s Chabad House has numerous safe rooms, which those who attended the play group this week had to use at various times when the sirens rang out.
Noting that families who live in the city’s older homes—those constructed more than 20 years ago—may not have a safe room, Friedman says that as an emissary of the Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory, she felt compelled to help others and offer them a safe place to spend the day.
Taking care of friends and neighbors can come in many ways.
Yehudis Lieberman, co-director of Chabad of Ashkelon with her husband, Rabbi Menachem Lieberman, was heading downstairs to her safe room after a siren rang in her town of Ashkelon—just 22 miles from the border with Gaza—when she happened to glance outside. She noticed a woman standing on the street.
“I opened the door and told her to come in,” recounts Lieberman. “She was shaking; she had been walking to work” when the alarm began blaring and didn’t know where to go.
While many are not in such a position to provide physical aid to those in Israel, people outside the embattled country can offer support in other ways.
Suggested Friedman: “Say prayers, and take it upon yourself to do a mitzvah, a good deed, for Israel.”
Those activities, “that’s our security, and we have to increase that,” agreed Lieberman, who went on to say that G‑d “should continue to send miracles.”
Those wishing to assist Chabad Terror Victims Project in their efforts can do so through their web site www.ctvp.org