Family returns to Rochester after escape from war in Israel

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“Was there a moment when you feared for your life?” Berkeley Brean asked Marc Cohen.

“Absolutely,” he said.

It was Saturday night. Cohen and his family were in their hotel in Tel Aviv.

The sirens went off.

The rockets started raining down and he was separated from his wife, who is seven months pregnant.

“Probably a minute later we heard and felt the explosions and vibrations of rockets that had gotten through Iron Dome and fallen in some part of Tel Aviv,” Cohen said.

He shared the text chain with his wife Emily.
“I’m coming up.”
“I’m coming down.”
“Ok on an elevator.”
“Me too.”
“Where are you?”
“I’m with a family.”

The Cohens connected and hurried into the hotel bomb shelter, which is the stairway.

“And I was standing there with my wife and my family just waiting for the next one to hit our hotel,” he said.

Last week, the Cohens were at celebrations on vacation in Israel. Within 48 hours, they were in a war zone.
This week the Cohens packed into a car and got through security and a packed crowd at the Tel Aviv airport.

They flew to Dubai, then to Chicago and Buffalo, and then drove the last 70 miles home.

“I think I felt as much relief as Marc did in seeing him in real time,” said Meredith Dragon, CEO of the Jewish Federation.

Cohen credits Dragon, Rep. Joe Morelle’s office, his boss at the Chamber of Commerce Bob Duffy and Delta Airlines with saving his family’s life.

“As far as I’m concerned, I was just doing what friends do,” Dragon said. “We took care of each other. We care for each other.”

“To have that kind of information coming from all angles both kept us level headed but kept us alive,” Cohen said.

Brean: “Are you going to go back?”
Marc Cohen: “Absolutely. Absolutely.”

Cohen says they left the country for their safety and to reduce the burden on Israeli security.

“And the moment we can do so without taking up resources that can be used elsewhere, we’re going to be there,” he said.