I write to you from Israel, as we travel around with a group of teens from the New York area, including Westchester. First and most importantly, we are safe and fine. The current security situation has only made us vary our plans slightly, and our teens are enjoying and getting the most out of their visit to Eretz Yisrael.
This latest escalation in violence from the Gaza Strip comes again in the form of rockets being fired deliberately towards populated areas around Israel. While the Iron Dome system has had a success rate of over 90% in intercepting rockets, over 6 million people are currently affected directly. People may have between 15 seconds and a minute to find shelter.
With that, I see first hand how Israelis are handling the situation by staying strong, positive and supportive of our security forces. We are showing our strength by continuing to live - going to work, sitting in coffee shops, and shopping in preparation for Shabbat. We are vigilant and aware, and keep going with a smile.
I know that in times like these, when Israel and Israelis face the most challenging of threats in recent years, that the Westchester community has been and will continue to stand alongside Israel in every way possible. I am aware of different initiatives that have been organized in Westchester and I urge you to show your support in any way you can. Please check with the Westchester Jewish Council and any of the relevant affiliated agencies to see what you can do.
We all hope and pray that the current violence will subside as soon as possible and that quiet will return to the region. Until then, please keep the soldiers of the IDF, Israel's Magen David Adom medical teams, the Israeli police, security forces and volunteers in your thoughts and prayers.
Wishing us all a Shabbat Shalom,
Yoav Cohen, Westchester Community Shaliach