In the span of one hour on Tuesday, two hundred Palestinian rockets pummeled the city of Ashkelon, killing two and wounding many others. The terror attacks continued on Wednesday, pounding Ashkelon and its neighboring city of Ashdod.
“What has happened over the last few days has been horrendous,” said Rabbi Mendel Lieberman, the director of Chabad of Ashkelon.
Ashkelon and Ashdod, which sit on the Mediterranean some eight miles north of the border with the Gaza strip, have been hit by Hamas rockets before. But, says Lieberman, who leads a sprawling network of organizations, including a school system serving some 2,000 students, “This is unlike anything that we’ve had before.”
Speaking with Lubavitch.com by phone, Lieberman said the city was just rebounding after the Covid shutdown. “We just reopened our schools and programs last week, when rockets began raining down on us.” As thousands of residents have taken refuge in bomb shelters, Chabad emissaries city-wide have turned their focus to delivering food, toys, and activities for the children in the shelters. Chabad has also rushed to provide beds for the elderly who have had to move into the shelters.
“The alarm sirens give people 20 to 30 seconds of warning, hardly enough time for elderly residents to make it from their homes to the shelters,” explains Rabbi Lieberman. “They have no choice but to move into the bomb shelters.”
Stress levels are high, and many, especially children, suffer serious trauma. Speaking from experience, the rabbi says that “For every one person that is hurt physically, there are fifteen people that are hurt by trauma.” Because the city has been targeted so frequently, Chabad of Ashkelon recently trained its staff to assist trauma victims.
Rabbi Lieberman appealed to the American Jewish community to pray for the children of Ashkelon and all of Israel. Chabad of Ashkelon is also accepting donations to fund its relief efforts: www.cashkelon.com or PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org