NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — Local Rabbi Mendel Rivkin at Chabad Uptown has been in touch with his daughter Chana every day since the attacks on Israel over the weekend.

Chana traveled from New York to Israel on Aug. 30 for a year as part of a religious immersion program.

Everything was going well, until the first Hamas strike hit on Saturday, Oct. 7.

Rivkin was unable to contact his daughter that day due to Jewish tradition not allowing technology usage on the sabbath or religious holidays.

“My daughter and her cousin, my niece, had put in a phone call to a woman who helps us at home who’s not Jewish. So, she answered her phone, and she was able to get us the message that they were okay,” Rivkin said.

Chana was in central Israel near Tel Aviv during the initial attacks.

She is currently in a city in northern Israel and has no intention of coming home early.

“There was no thought of leaving. Like she’s not abandoning her people in their time of stress just because she’s American and she has the option. For her, it was you got to be there to support,” Rivkin said.

Rivkin says he believes Chana’s decision to stay is the right one.

“I’m a person of faith, my family and I, and we strongly believe that a person is in a place for a reason and wherever they are, they are meant to be. In that sense, I have faith in God that he will protect her,” Rivkin said.

He says he plans to stay in touch with Chana as often as possible until she returns home.

“With technology, many many many times a day. Video calls, texts, WhatsApp messages,” Rivkin said.

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