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Within hours of Monday’s rocket attack from Gaza on the community of Moshav Mishmeret, just north of Ra’anana and Kefar Sava, The Jewish Agency provided emergency assistance to the families who suffered various degrees of injuries and heavy property damage.

A long-range rocket fired from the Gaza Strip directly hit a local home and injured seven people, including two infants. The four families affected by the rocket fire received thousands of Shekels in urgent aid from The Jewish Agency’s Fund for the Victims of Terror, an initiative supported by The Jewish Federations of North America, Keren Hayesod, and foundations and donors from Jewish communities around the world. Representatives of The Jewish Agency visited the families who suffered the attack to personally deliver the financial aid as well as to convey Diaspora Jewry’s solidarity with the victims.

This is one of three historic partners that Jewish Federations of The Jewish Agency North America and Jewish Federation of St. Louis helps fund to make life better for Jews in Israel and in more than 70 countries around the world.

The Fund may well be called on for more assistance. Hamas’ so-called “confusion units have threatened to step up activities along the border this week.

The Fund for the Victims of Terror brings emergency assistance to individuals and families affected by rocket fire and other forms of terrorism. Through this Fund, The Jewish Agency provides 4,000 Shekels to assist victims with immediate needs. In addition, the Fund provides grants of up to 25,000 Shekels for recuperation efforts such as psychological care, job retraining, and more. The aid recipients are individuals who are recognized by the Israeli government as victims of terror but have crucial supplementary needs that are not supported by the State.

For a family with ties right here at Federation and our community, here’s two first-hand accounts from today. When the sirens started blaring on Monday, it was a new experience for Sima Oberlander, who had recently moved with her family from St. Louis to Ra’anana. For her husband, Michael Oberlander, who had recently returned to St. Louis for his work as Chief Philanthropy Officer at the Jewish Federation of St. Louis, the terror was both 6,000 miles away and very personal.

Below are accounts from both of the Oberlanders.

From Sima Oberlander:

We are new to Israel and this was our first siren, but I do know that here in Ra’anana we have one and a half minutes from the start of a siren until impact. We also have practiced getting to and closing the door of the reinforced room in our apartment on floor 4 of a 14-story apartment building. But when the siren woke me at 5:20 a.m. this morning, I was groggy and confused — was that really a siren? And is this really happening? We aren’t supposed to be threatened by rockets in this part of the country.

I got my bearings and hustled to rouse our two sleeping teens and my visiting parents, some of whom were slow to rise. We had not yet all made it into the safe room when a boom sounded — it was over. My teens were glued to their phones checking their WhatsApp groups to try to figure out what had happened. No news was posted yet. This was not like a St. Louis tornado siren in which there are weather reports and warning and time to get to shelter. Here, the threat is immediate.

In the house that was hit, just a few miles away from us, thank god that family moved quickly and all were spared. I hope our family doesn’t get in more practice at this.

From Michael Oberlander:

As you may have heard, a rocket from Gaza destroyed a two-family home in Moshav Mishmeret, injuring seven civilians, including two infants, and killing the family dogs. The pictures are quite horrific. Shrapnel damaged surrounding homes and punctured a gas tank. Our thoughts and prayers are with those most directly impacted. And, we fully recognize that the impacts are far-reaching. Right now, Israel is responding militarily to the attack on its civilians; and, as careful as Israel’s military will be we know that there will be civilians in Gaza affected. Many other Israelis will be feeling the effects of this most-recent attack. Our family is living about 5 miles from the home that was destroyed (about as far as the Galleria is from Plaza Frontenac). My wife told me they were awakened by the sirens at around 5:20 am and hurried into our “protected room.” Each Israeli house has to have a room with no external windows, reinforced walls and a steel door.