KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The reality of war set in after a terrorist group attacked Israel on Saturday.
As Tuesday dawns in Israel, we’re hearing firsthand accounts from Kansas City metro residents, including one rabbi caught in the crossfire.
“We’re running for our lives literally. Many of us carrying our children, trying to wheel people in wheelchairs,” Rabbi Steve Burnstein said.
Two faith leaders, one on the way to Israel before being turned around, the other shielding his family in bomb shelters.
“This was not an attack on soldiers, this was not an attack on an Air Force base. This was an attack on grandmothers, entire families,” Burnstein said.
A surprise attack on Israel’s sovereignty by Hamas has left families separated, cities and towns destroyed and has brought back war to the Middle East.
“Our Sabbath was interrupted by a brutal attack on families, people sitting in their homes, young people who were having a celebration in nature with music and dancing,” he said.
Burnstein, who was born in Kansas City, was awakened in the middle of the night Saturday by sirens. He and his family rushed to their bomb shelter with less than a minute and a half to get there.
“Seeing what it’s doing to our young people. To grow up with that kind of fear, that kind of terror,” he said.
The war has lead to a constant state of fear for him, his children, his community and the many Israelis who call the land home.
Burnstein’s daughter is also a fighter in the Israeli army and is training those who will be thrust to the frontlines.
“We were on our way to Israel when the fighting broke out,” Rev. Adam Hamilton said.
Hamilton was just hours from docking near Gaza, the center point of where much of this war is being fought now when the bombs started to go off.
He and the 450 people he’s leading on what was a tour of the holy land were forced to turn around.
“We can look at Hamas’ strategies and what they’ve done and say those are just not okay. That’s just not an acceptable way to address this, but we also have to understand from a Palestine perspective there’s a lot of pain that’s there,” Hamilton said.
Burnstein’s synagogue is called Birkat Shalom. That translates to “A blessing of peace,” in English.