LUBBOCK, Texas — EverythingLubbock.com visited Deborah Chana’s home on Thursday to look at photos and hear the stories her friends in Israel have told her. Scrapbooks and printed photos scattered across her dining table, Chana recounts memories with her friends.
“Here, look. One of the grandbabies is playing with Barbie and here’s two of the families on the beach,” Chana said as she held up different printed photos.
Just after Chana heard about the conflict between Israel and Palestine, she reached out to them to make sure her friends were okay. Her close to 30 friends are all alive, but she wants to raise awareness to the atrocities and put faces to the numbers of people living through and dying from the war.
“The children are mostly okay and are coping and we try not to expose them to the true horrors of the situation. There are occasional expressions of distress, especially when the air raid sirens sound,” Chana read from a text message sent to her from a close friend.
She met her friends after many of them stayed in her home when they visited Lubbock over the past 20 years. She had all kosher food at her house, which was welcoming for Jewish Israelis. Now, they’re back in Israel and Chana said she feels heartbroken and scared for them.
“When I do watch TV, I find myself looking at the faces to see if I recognize anybody,” Chana said.
She wants to share their stories and show their faces so others can realize how important it is to be kind at this time.
“I just want people to see their family and then realize those are families too,” Chana said.
She’s thankful her friends are alive, and she’s lit a candle near the entryway of her home to remember those who aren’t.
While Chana feels helpless, she wants to do what she can even if it’s from far away.
“I can’t just sit here staring in the dark because I’m freaking out, but it seems wrong just to go on with life, but we have to,” Chana said.
Her biggest hope is to encourage kindness.
“Let’s stop hating each other regardless of who we are,” Chana said.
But she also hopes the mourning can end and she can put her candle out soon. Chana said she will keep checking in on her friends and encourage others to give in the ways they can, such as donating to humanitarian organizations that are aiding in the conflict.