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Southern Coloradoans worry about family and friends in Israel

Posted at 12:04 AM, Oct 10, 2023

COLORADO SPRINGS — The attacks and counter-attacks in Israel and Gaza are getting strong reactions in Southern Colorado.

“[What] happened in the last three days has never happened before. when a majority of the people that were killed were civilians, not soldiers, not the army,” said Kobi Chumash who grew up in Israel and now lives in Colorado Springs.

Chumash said living with with tension between Israelis and Arabs is part of life in the region, only up until now when it escalated it was typically between authorities and militaries.

He fears this conflict will continue to grow.

He has spoken with family in Israel who are okay but also could be pulled into the fight.

“I have a brother who lives there, his daughter has been called back to her unit as a reserve.”

A Palestinian woman who now lives in Colorado Springs did not want her name used, has also been trying to make sure her family is okay.

They live in the Gaza Strip where Israeli forces returned fire.

The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas has taken credit for the surprise attacks.

“Hamas claims to represent the Palestinian people they do not,” said Rabbi Jay Sherwood of Temple Shalom in Colorado Springs

Earlier this past summer the Rabbi was in one of the areas of Israel targeted in the attacks.

“One of the first people killed was the mayor of Sha'ar Hanegev. I had lunch with him in June. We have members here who knew People who are killed. We have members here who know people who are being called up in the military.”

Dr. David Greenberg and Paulette Greenberg decided to alter travel plans that included a stop in the Middle East after the attacks.

The couple are Jewish and have family in Israel.

“We have cousins who live in Israel and, you know, I wrote to her right away,” said Paulette Greenberg, “She's in Jerusalem and she said, we're fine, you know, very concerned, but we're fine.”

The Greenbergs are also the founders of The Greenberg Center for Learning and Tolerance.

“We're not a Jewish group, we are an ecumenical group, and we want to work together with people. We want to honor the dignity of all humanity, you know, by encouraging understanding and compassion. And this is really a very sad time,” said Paulette Greenberg.

Dr. David Greenberg asked the rhetorical question, “Why do you have to bomb somebody? You know, why do you have to destroy your family? You know, for what reason?

The Greenberg Center sponsored a lecture titled Remembering for the Future just weeks back.

It explored lessons from the Holocaust when hate and antisemitism led to the killing of millions of Jews.

“What you have to do is remember the past, think about the past, so you can make the future a better, safer, and more encouraging place to be,” said Dr. Greenberg.

The conflict between Israel and Palestinians is long and complex.

“To really understand what's going on, you could spend hours upon hours upon hours trying to understand the recent history of the last 75 years, the expanded history of the last few 100 years. And then the grander history of a few 1000 years,” said Rabbi Sherwood.

The latest attacks are now a part of history with unknown ramifications.

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