SPARTANBURG, S.C. (WSPA) Mark Packer, vice president of the only synagogue in Spartanburg County, describes the war in Israel as a nightmare.  

“It’s not an exaggeration to say that this is one of the darkest moments in Jewish history since the Holocaust,” said Mark Packer, vice president of Temple B’nai Israel.

Following the Hamas attack, local rabbis’ and leaders are walking members of the Jewish community through the many emotions felt since October 7th. 

“There is great strength in us coming together and being unified as a community, it’s what the Jewish people have done for thousands of years,” said Courtney Tessler, CEO of Greenville Jewish Federation. “To overcome and survive by being together and working together, and we will do it again.”

Seeing chilling parallels between past events in Jewish history to what’s happening now in Israel is what many said is arguably the most disturbing part of it all.

“Judaism is a religion of memory and we remember our history with a sense of vividness, a sense of personal presence in those moments, and that’s what this terrible time in Israel is doing for us,” said Packer. “In a manner of speaking it’s forcing us to relive the traumas of our history.” 

But Packer and Tessler both said the Jewish community embodies strength, and they’re using it now.

“That’s what is important for people to take away,” said Tessler. “This isn’t about politics, it’s about people.”

“There are unarmed civilians on the Israeli side and the Palestinian side who are hurting and more are going to hurt,” said Packer. “The speediness of resolution, although mandated by the military and political circumstances, is especially urgent just because of the humanitarian crisis that we are seeing unfolding.”