Missile warning comes as we talk to Israeli exchange students who are home from Brighton and Pittsford

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. – When the original attack against Israel happened on Oct. 7, there were 17 Israeli exchange students living with host families in Pittsford and Brighton. For their safety, we had to wait until they returned home to Israel before we could talk to them. And when we talked to them on Monday, we experienced the threat they now live under.

“Okay, it’s a siren noticing missiles,” said Sigal Eisenhammer from her home in Modi’in, Israel.

The missile alert came to the cell phone of her son Elad. They didn’t immediately go to their safe room because at the time the missiles weren’t close enough.

Brean: “If that siren gets closer to you then you’ve got to go.”

Elad: “Yeah.”

Sigal: “Yeah.”

That is life in Israel right now.

Last week, Elad, his friend Daniel Borovitzky, and 15 other exchange students lived with host families in Brighton and Pittsford.

They arrived back home in Tel Aviv Friday night singing a traditional anthem of Jewish solidarity and resilience.

Brean: “How does it feel to be home?”

Elad: “The feeling is very good. And the situation in Israel is very difficult.”

Brean: “You were here in Rochester when the attack happened? What was that like for you?”

Daniel: “Well it was very scary. We didn’t know when we were going to come back to Israel and to our family.”

Elad and Daniel are 15 years old. In Israel, almost every 18-year-old is drafted into the army.

Brean: “Sigal, do you worry that Elad is going to have to fight in this war?”

Sigal: “Uh, yes I am worried. Trying not to think of it. And trying to repress it in some way. Sorry for being so honest but repressing is a tool that can help us go through this.”

Brean: “What does the future look like to you?”

Sigal: “It’s really hard to say, but I’m an optimistic person by nature. So I believe the future will be bright for him and for all kids in Israel.”

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We had some light moments when I asked them what they liked and learned when they were here.

Brean: “What did you learn when you were here?”

Daniel: “Pickleball”

Elad: “Yeah, we learned how to play pickleball if you’re familiar with this game. It’s very fun.”

Daniel: “We also learned the rules of football.”

Brean: “Is your favorite football team the Buffalo Bills?”

Elad: “Yes!”