Just about everyone in the Bay Area knows, or has a friend or family member, with ties to Israel and on Monday, they shared their stories.
“We gathered to remember my nephew his name was, is, Yoav Malayev,” said Yonatan Cohen, a rabbi at Congregation Beth Israel in Berkley.
He said his nephew was stationed near the Gaza border and was one of the first casualties of this unprecedented war.
“Yoav realized as the war started that there was a lone soldier standing at the entrance to the base and in an act of complete heroism, this 19-year-old marched to the gates to go and join the soldier standing there,” said Cohen.
He was killed in battle protecting a fellow soldier with his body.
Cohen is now on his way to Israel to sit shiva, a 7 day period of mourning, and to support others who have lost loved ones.
“Yoav is an embodiment of the best of state of Israel, what me and the community and Jews around the world love and cherish about Israel, he was good hearted, he had profound determination, love of people and he had hopes and dreams about his life,” said Cohen.
With at least 900 people dead in Israel, and its military saying it’s now on offense, an Oakland teacher watched closely from her living room, wondering how and when it will end.
Her nephew and her daughter’s boyfriend are fighting on the frontlines.
“We’re in tears, we … it’s so devastating, it’s so tragic, it’s a trauma from a long time, I don’t know how they’re going to heal from that. I don’t know what’s going to happen with the kidnapped people … the count of the casualties is not over,” said Adi Schacker of Oakland.
Most of her family is still in Israel, including her daughter and 85-year-old mother, who’s turned one of her rooms into a bomb shelter.
“They were told to have food. Now for three days in the shelter and just be prepared and they are thinking, prepared for what, what’s going to happen,” said Schacker.
Meanwhile at the school she teaches in the East Bay, some teachers and parents were drafted by the Israeli military.
“You have to know these are gentle people, these are not people that can’t wait to hold a gun and kill people, they are just there to defend their homes,” said Schacker.
Countless lives and countless stories in the middle of a war with no ending in sight.
Source: NBC Bay Area