The City of Life Congregation is no stranger to terrorism and the lasting impact it can leave on a community. Located less than two miles away from the Gaza border in Sderot, members must run to the nearest bomb shelter when Hamas fires rockets into southern Israel.
The Messianic congregation is working hard to help local Holocaust survivors deal with the psychological trauma that comes with both surviving genocide and living within range of Hamas rockets. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, Holocaust survivors and other elderly citizens in Sderot face a new challenge—loneliness.
"It's very important because of COVID-19 just to be with them and spend time with them because they are very lonely," Itzhak Rabihiya, a spokesperson for the organization told CBN News.
Volunteers from the congregation are supporting hundreds of these vulnerable members of society by visiting them and providing them medication, aid, house repairs, electrical appliances and emotional counseling.
"Our first priority is to give them not physical support, but mental support. Our volunteers go to their houses and stay with them for sometimes many, many hours," Rabihiya said. "They break their loneliness by being with them."
Much of the physical aid being provided, like diapers, walkers and groceries, is provided by benefactors abroad.
While the elderly appreciate the help, the congregation says its members have become victims of harassment by people who dislike the fact that they are Jews who believe Jesus is their Messiah. Rabihiya said, "extremist religious Jews" have shown up at their operating center and demonstrated against them.
"They will come and do a demonstration and start cursing," he explained. "[They'll] tell them, 'Go away, you are doing wrong, you are not Jewish.'"
"They curse and they demonstrate and they scream and normally there is no violence ... but they interrupt the community," Rabihiya continued.
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Reprinted with permission from CBN.com. Copyright The Christian Broadcasting Network Inc. All rights reserved.
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