Durham rabbi shares experience visiting Israel amid Hamas conflict: 'Very different reality'

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Thursday, November 16, 2023
Durham rabbi shares experience visiting Israel amid Hamas conflict
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Durham Rabbi Daniel Greyber from Beth El Synagogue recounted a sobering trip to Israel and his advocacy for the people swept up in the violent conflict.

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- A local rabbi has returned to Durham after a life-changing trip to the heart of the Israel-Hamas conflict. Rabbi Daniel Greyber from Beth El Synagogue in Durham made the six-day trip to Israel with a group of other rabbis at an important moment in history.

ABC11 spoke with Greyber shortly after he landed at Raleigh-Durham International Airport after a more than 11-hour journey home.

"I'm here, I'm fine I'm grateful, but it's a very different reality," Greyber said.

That reality is across the globe, but close to Greyber's heart. Ever since the Oct. 7 Hamas terrorist attack, he had felt a calling to make the trip to Israel.

He's been there many times before but said this time felt different.

While visiting his aunt, at times rockets were going by and he got emergency alerts on his phone.

"On that particular one, there weren't any injuries, but it certainly gets your heart racing," he said.

His group of rabbis also met with those at the center of the conflict. He said the most memorable was Dvir Rosenfeld whose sister and brother-in-law were killed trying to save their twin babies who survived the attack.

"The terrorists left the twins crying, and they did that purposely to lure people who were worrying about the twins and then they came into the house to try (to) rescue the babies that were crying, they would murder them," Greyber said.

He also met with diplomats working to secure the release of hostages taken by Hamas.

"There's a whole team of psychologists who are working with 240 families trying to support them. I have a necklace that says bring them home," he said.

That included a visit to the Kfar Aza kibbutz where a couple with ties to Chapel Hill was taken.

"What I can share is that I was able to visit with their family and give support in a personal way," he said.

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Now, as he returns home, he is making sure that everyone he met was left with a little bit of Southern hospitality, with hand-drawn cards from his congregation.

"There are kids in Durham, North Carolina, who want you to know that we're thinking of you," he told one Israeli soldier.

The rabbi said that support will continue back home. Greyber is continuing his advocacy, calling for the hostages to be freed. He said Jewish groups from Durham and Chapel Hill have also teamed to sponsor a sister village in Israel, sending supplies and funds.