COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — The attacks on Israel are leaving an impact on people worldwide, including the Jewish community here in Columbus.
Jewish people young and old say they have been deeply affected and are worried for what’s to come. Jewish congregations and organizations across central Ohio have come together in the wake of these attacks.
“Confusion, anger and fear. They are confused about why this happened, how this happened, how it could have happened. They are feeling anger because this is not just a Palestinian–Israeli issue, this is a war against peace,” said Sarah Deitsch, co-director of Ohio State Chabad.
Jewish leaders said no matter your age or background, everyone who is part of the Jewish community in Columbus has been affected by the news in Israel, and many have the same reaction.
“Worry, concern, frustration, anger. It’s hard to be very distant and yet feel very close to what is going on,” said Senior Rabbi Howard Zack at Congregation Torat Emet. Over at OSU Chabad, Deitsch said many of her Jewish students are away from home for the first time, and they all want to feel the support of their community as a whole.
“It’s not just about the Jews on campus, it’s about every single student understanding that this is a war of good against evil and good will prevail,” said Deitsch.
At Congregation Torat Emet, many members have kids taking a gap year in Israel. Rabbi Zack said their parents feel fear and helplessness, but they also feel directly connected to friends and family in Israel.
“Today with Whatsapp, with a phone, you are not far away from anything. We are in the middle of it, we are a part of it. Our families, our children are directly involved and are affected by this,” said the Rabbi. Deitsch and Rabbi Zack said every Jewish person is directly impacted by these attacks in some way, and they ask for support from their fellow central Ohioans.
That impact was felt at a JewishColumbus vigil held Monday night.
“Our community has not experienced a crisis like this for decades, so we wanted to come together to mourn the lives lost and to show our support for Israel,” JewishColumbus Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Joanne Strasser said.
The room was packed with people coming to show their support.
One Columbus woman who was born, married, and had children in Israel said she is getting first-hand accounts of the violence.
“So the last few days have been really hard,” Columbus resident Malka Bendor said. “My husband went to Israel for the family reunion. He’s there currently. He’s okay but he’s witnessing this.”
She says it’s all very overwhelming.
“When you’re talking to friends and family, which I do a lot daily, you know, it’s like, ‘Has a rocket gone over your house?'” Bendor said. “Like, ‘Where are you? Are you in the shelter? Are you on the steps?’ Like, there’s this constant fear.”
At the vigil, Sen. Sherrod Brown, Congresswoman Joyce Beatty and Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther expressed their support for Israel.
“We want people to know what happened,” Strasser said. “The world has to know that over 900 Israeli civilians have been brutally murdered within the past 48 hours by a terrorist organization. And in this day and age, that is unacceptable and tragic for our community.”
JewishColumbus is asking people to stay informed and aware as the violence continues to unfold.