COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – Thursday evening was not a normal evening in Tel Aviv, Israel. It’s been nearly three weeks since the Hamas attacks that killed more than a thousand Israelis and injured or kidnapped hundreds more. But Jack Chomsky and his wife Susan Gellman tried to do something normal.
“We went out for dinner. At the end of dinner sirens went off and we went to a nearby shelter,” he said.
Three years ago the couple moved to Tel Aviv from Columbus where Jack was a Cantor for 39 years.
They love the city of Tel Aviv. But 2-3 times per day, they take shelter.
“This is the room that’s our shelter in our apartment. You’ll see behind me there’s a heavy white door behind that window,” Chomsky said. “There are many people around Tel Aviv and around Israel who don’t have such a safe place and that’s an issue that people are dealing with. Right now it’s like can I stay where I am or do I need to move someplace else for a time. And then that’s nothing next to the people who are in Gaza and have no place.”
They spend time with their family. Their daughter, son-in-law, and nephew live in the next building over. Their apartment doesn’t have a shelter in it, so they use a community shelter within the building. Living through a time of war is tough, and hard to explain to a three year old.
“At three he just trusts his adults. Which is his grandparents or his parents. And if we’re not seeming too panicked then he’s not going to seem too panicked. This is a safe place under the circumstances,” Chomsky said.
While Chomsky and Gellman live in Tel Aviv, a city north of the fighting and relatively safe, the emotional and mental anguish over the last three weeks takes a toll.
“It’s very frightening for Jews now, here but especially in the United States. I think that my friends in the US are, and maybe appropriately, more scared than we are. The full throated, anti-Israel, anti-Semitic behavior that’s going on around the world is very alarming,” Chomsky said.
Chomsky was not extremely optimistic when we talked about what’s next in this fight. But he did say, “The Jews, The Israelis are here. The Palestinians are here. Nobody is disappearing. We need to deal with each other. Now, the leaders in both groups have not been very good at that.”