Jessica Brockman: Boca Raton rabbi witnessing Gaza, Israel turmoil firsthand

BOCA RATON, Fla. - A local rabbi  has been watching the crisis in Gaza and Israel develop for the last week firsthand.

Rabbi Jessica Brockman, from Boca Raton's Temple Beth El,  left for Israel last week, not expecting there to be any turmoil.

In just a few days, she says so much has changed for the worse.

Five days into her trip to Israel, Brockman says the tensions have been rising.

"It's not an optimistic country this week on any level," Brockman said.

The chance of a missile attack seems more likely every day. 

"I've changed. When you go to bed at night you make sure you know where your shoes are. You make sure you know where your valuables are so you can grab what you need and get out," Brockman described.

Over the phone from Tiberias, Israel, on Sunday, Brockman described that missiles are being fired into cities that she says never imagined being attacked.

She describes that the news, which is rarely on, is now on 24 hours a day covering the crisis. She says she's watched tanks being hauled down the street.

"I've been to Israel many times. I've been a tour guide in this country. I've never seen such changes."

Brockman is traveling with an advocacy group of other rabbis.

Following one of their meetings, she says they witnessed one of their closest calls: a missile, stopped in its tracks by a missile interceptor. They could see the smoke trail, Brockman said.

"Literally, we saw that this missile was much closer than we had imagined. That was a really big deal," she said.

Brockman says the rest of their two-week trip hinges on where they feel safe to travel.

On Sunday, she says they canceled a trip to Tel Aviv where she says the risk of a missile attack was too high.

"It's a long path to peace. It's not going to be tomorrow on any level," said Brockman.


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