HONOLULU (KHON2) — The war has affected people here on the islands. For one Israeli man who now calls Hawaii home he said it was agonizing not knowing whether his loved ones were okay.
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After finally getting in touch he said, his family and friends are doing what they can to stay safe as the attacks continue to unfold.
Kaimuki High School football coach Matti Gorondenchik remembers being in his home country of Israel visiting his young niece at a happier time. Just months later the situation in Israel is dire.
He told KHON2, his sister and her husband evacuated their home near the Gaza border after the attacks.
“It’s so stressful, I have a two year old niece. My sister and my brother in law they don’t have a bomb shelter in their house they had to run to their in-laws who live nearby,” said Matti Gorondenchik.
He added, there are about a dozen people sheltering in place a small bomb shelter — he’s heard from friends with their little ones who have gone days without food or water.
The attack by Hamas on Israel took him and the entire world by surprise.
“We never imagined anything like that, that was, that was the 9/11 or the Pearl Harbor of Israel,” continued Gorondenchik.
Emanuel Temple’s Rabbi- Cantor Cheri Weiss said many in the community have reached out offering their support– she knew many in Hawaii are being impacted by the war in Israel.
“I would hazard a guess that not a single Israeli person has not been impacted on a personal level, they either know someone whose been killed or kidnapped or families missing or they’ve been severely injured because remember this is mostly a civilian on the innocent civilians,” said Weiss.
She added they are planning vigils for temple members as well as a public vigil, but those are being planned carefully and with security top of mind.
“It just takes one time and it takes one person who has evil in his or her heart to devastate an entire community we’ve seen that in other places,” continued Weiss.
The reality right now is that the thousands of Jewish people and the hundreds of Israelis living in Hawaii are all in mourning at this moment.
“We are in mourning and they are hurting and please check in with them,” said Weiss.
Meanwhile –Gorodenchik worries about the children.
“As an educator I know that those things are going to affect them for the rest of their lives,” he said.
He will continue checking on his loved ones and praying for their safety.