RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A local rabbi shared grave concerns with 8News about his family, friends and loved ones in Israel as the Israel-Hamas war rages on.

“It’s been incredibly emotionally draining. It’s been very difficult for all of us,” said David Asher, the rabbi at Keneseth Beth Israel Synagogue in Richmond. “You just wonder how there can be human beings who can do something like that?”

Asher said his parents, his sister and some of his cousins are currently in the war-torn area, and described hearing sirens signaling they needed to take cover. He said imagining that scene feels “surreal.”

“My parents are 78 and my dad said its hard for them to hear the sirens to know when they need to run and take cover. That was pretty hard for me to hear,” Asher said.

He also described the horrific story of a young boy who used to pray at his Synagogue who was taken by terrorists during the war.

“He’s a young man who spent time in Richmond. They [terrorists] threw a grenade to kill civilians. He threw the grenade back but his arm was severely injured in the process,” Asher said. “The parents are trying to get the government’s [attention] and international attention to this boy from our community to help them understand this terrorist group needs to release these civilians.”

Asher said the Jewish population is coming together and praying for strength.

“It’s really hard. Today is the hardest day because I’m seeing more and more images. If you know anyone Jewish, extend some support,” he said.