When a call to help Israel goes out to the community, Leon and Helen Wahba are always among the first to step up and offer to help. So when Hamas launched rocket attacks against Israel and the terrorist organization’s network of tunnels designed to disgorge terrorists and munitions directly into southern Israel, the Wahbas volunteered to do whatever they could to help.
On Monday, August 11, they invited a group of Israel supporters to their home for a fundraiser and dessert reception.
Since it appears the fighting might be over, Jewish Community Relations Council Chair Becky Swansburg reminded those in attendance that this is now the time to begin rebuilding as there has been a lot of infrastructure damage.
She also pointed out that children like her own spent the summer either within 15 seconds of a shelter or living in shelters. They need support and therapy to transition back into what childhood should be.
Kevin Altman, a Louisville college student who is active in Hillel and who was in Israel for a seminar and internship with the Jewish Center for Genocide Prevention this summer, shared his observations.
“I wasn’t expecting what happened,” he said. “We had Friday morning off, so we headed to the beach. Then we heard the sirens and all the Israelis were out of the water. We ran with them. It was the first time Hamas tried to target Tel Aviv.”
Altman said his dorm room was the shelter room – no windows and blast-proof doors, so whenever the sirens sounded, the other students flocked to his room. They were there for five or six nights for five hours at a time.
Another time, Altman was outside a mall when the sirens sounded and soldiers pushed him and his friends under cars and buses. “You could always tell the Israelis from the visitors because the Israelis knew what to do,” he observed.
Once, a rocket blew up right over his head. “It sounds like a crack of thunder,” he said.
“I believe the Israelis and the Palestinians do not deserve to suffer,” Altman said, and he asked people to “find it in your hearts to give.”
All the money raised at this event and through the Jewish Federation of Louisville’s Stop the Sirens Campaign goes directly to Israel for direct services and programming.
There is still time to do your part. Go to jewishlouisville.org/stop-sirens/ to make your donation.