VIDEO: Originally presented at the International Kinus Hashluchos 5784
Eilat. A beautiful city on the coast. A popular tourist destination. Home to a flourishing Jewish community.
What most people don’t know about Eilat is that it has become a safe haven for displaced families following the October 7 attack. From both the southern and northern borders of Israel, tens of thousands of people have found refuge in Eilat to try rebuilding what was broken. 70% of their homes were destroyed by rockets or shrapnel, and many have friends and family members who were taken hostage in Gaza.
Chabad of Eilat serves as a source of inspiration in the heart of the city, offering a sense of belonging and warmth to Jews of all backgrounds. Now, their leadership is needed more than ever. With a deep sensitivity for the pain endured, they are learning to read between the lines.
“What times does your children’s program start?” One mother asked. What she really meant was, “My three-year old stopped speaking on October 7th. She can’t communicate. Please help her.”
Another woman approached the shlucha asking to use the mikvah for the first time. Her eyes were saying something different. “My body hasn’t been normal since those 48 hours we spent trapped by terrorists. I want to do something for G-d.”
A young girl wanted to light Shabbos candle for the first time in her life. “My father is being held hostage in Gaza,” the pain in her voice spoke for itself.
As the precious neshamas pour through their doors, Chabad of Eilat is stepping up to the plate to fill the need of the hour. Families who were previously unaffiliated are learning to say “shema yisroel” for the first time. Their hearts are open to Yiddishkeit, and they want to feel closer to Hashem. Dozens of volunteers visit children and their families on a daily basis, offering good night programs in the hotel lobbies, celebrating their significant milestones together with them, hearing their stories and encouraging them to continue. The families are slowly learning to smile again, as they build a new, albeit temporary, life for themselves in Eilat.
Mrs. Chanie Klein, the keynote speaker at Sunday’s Kinus Hashluchos Grand Banquet, put it simply: The families in Eilat need our love. They need physical, emotional, and spiritual care. Most importantly, they need us to bring the light back into their lives. At Chabad of Eilat, that’s exactly what we’re doing.
Tens of thousands of refugees are counting on Chabad of Eilat to support them. Can they count on you too?
Sponsor a program. Dedicate a week of activities. Adopt an entire community. Bring humanity, warmth, and light to the families as they work to rebuild their lives.