ATLANTA — Adi Rozen is a long way from home.
The Israeli native built a life in her community just on the border of the Gaza Strip.
She raised her children there and started a business touring the culinary delicacies of the area.
“It’s the most special place. I’m very connected to it. I truly loved living there. I miss my home, I miss my family, and I can’t go home now,” Rozen said.
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On October 7, Hamas attacked her community.
Rozen said her family spent 10 hours locked inside their bomb shelter.
“It’s waiting without lights, without air,” Rozen said. “We didn’t know what was going outside, we didn’t know this terror was happening all around.”
Rozen told Channel 2 that at least 20 members of her community were killed during the attack.
“A lot of sadness and frustration. I didn’t understand. Where was the Army? Where was the government? What was going on?” Rozen said.
At around the same time, Shely Parness watched the news in Atlanta.
Parness moved from Israel to Atlanta more than a decade ago for work.
She said over the next few weeks she felt stuck trying to figure out how she could help.
She eventually saw a post by Mission Embrace Israel looking for metro Atlanta families to host those displaced by the attack.
“The first thing I saw was this post, and I automatically registered, and whatever I can do, I’m hosting someone. My husband didn’t even know,” Parness said. “We are far away from Israel, but we want to help however we can.”
“As soon as we put the word out there, there were hundreds of families registered to host families from Israel,” Ayelet Sery, who is helping run the program, said.
Mission Embrace Israel is doing more than finding a place for families like Rozen to stay.
“The house is just the symbol, the heart is the big thing here,” Sery said.
Sery said they are working with the community to try and provide for everything from food to entertainment.
“It was unbelievable, it was the best thing that we did,” Rozen said.
Rozen didn’t expect the chance to take refuge in Atlanta to be real.
However, she said the program has provided security for herself and her children while her husband fights in the war.
“I know in my mind everything is okay, we’re safe,” Rozen said. “It’s the best present I can give them during this time.”
Mission Embrace Israel said their goal is to bring 300 families to the metro Atlanta area.
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