Pittsburgh responds to the fighting

Pittsburgh responds to the fighting

(This is a revised version of the original story.)

Rockets were fired at Jerusalem this evening, Israel time, in what can only be seen as a dramatic escalation of the hostilities in the region.
Air raid sirens sounded in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv, according to AP. No injuries were reported, but Hamas’ latest attempts to hit Israel’s heartland — where rocket attacks are almost unheard of — “could push Israel closer to sending ground troops into Gaza,” the news service said.
Meanwhile, Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh leaders are responding to the violence.
• An emergency meeting of the Executive Committee of the Federation was held Friday morning to discuss its response to the rocket attacks.
• The Federation has committed to raising $100,000 as its share of a $5 million commitment made by the Jewish Federations of North America to assist Israel during the crisis (see story under “This Just In”).
• A fundraising mailbox has been opened, which has already received 18 donations, totaling more than $3,000. Donations continue to arrive. People can access the mailbox at www.jfedpgh.org.
Michael Fisher, a former community shaliach to Pittsburgh, who was in town this weekend, has a son in the Israel Defense Forces’ Tank Corps, who is ready to enter Gaza should there be an invasion.
“On Friday he was mobilized,” Fisher told the Chronicle. He said Natan was “sent down right now to the Gaza border, and they are now poised and waiting to see if they get a green light for going in with ground forces.
“It’s very difficult when you have a kid,” added Fisher, who was in the first Lebanon War. “I’m feeling very apprehensive right now.”
Tzur Goldblum of Pittsburgh, also a former community shaliach here, was in Israel when the tensions were heating up, and posted this statement Thursday on Facebook:
“Four days ago I saw ‘Sky Fall’ [the latest James Bond motion picture]; 007 made it look so easy to fight a maniac terrorist. Few hours ago, driving back from [my son] Alon’s base not far from Beer Sheva, I saw the ‘Sky Fall’ again, only that this time it was for real. Air raid sirens, the radio in the car is screaming ‘red color, red color,’ and before you know it, from the field next to the road, four or five Iron Dome rockets launch to the sky intercepting rockets from Gaza. Just unreal. The price of having a free, safe Jewish state is so expensive and demanding to some, and so taken for granted by so many others.”

The Chronicle will report developments as they occur.

Other Jewish organizations also are responding.
JNF is working with Sderot Mayor David Bouskila to keep its Sderot Indoor Recreation Center, which doubles as a state-of-the-art bomb shelter, open 24 hours a day. JNF also is providing aid to Israeli firefighters, who have been on call 24 hours a day. Donations are being used to purchase firefighting equipment, send food to fire stations, and provide personal toiletry kits to firefighters.
With rockets falling in the new community of Halutza, JNF is providing funds so that children can be taken away from the region. This will finance student and educational staff transportation, activities, and sleeping arrangements.