LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — It started as a normal Saturday morning in our community. People were drinking their coffee, talking with loved ones, and enjoying the morning when they got the devastating news that Israel was under attack by Hamas.

Joshua Aaron describes the moment his daughter, Emma, who serves in the Israeli army and is currently based in the south of Israel, told him about the attack.

“She called me, uh, saying abba we’re in a war,” said Aaron.

Aaron was heading to Roanoke for a performance he had scheduled for Sunday. He says what was supposed to be a celebration, turned into a night of prayer with the Roanoke community standing in solidarity with Israel.

“There’s not many words we really can say, except that we have hope for a future,” said Aaron.

Happening on a major Jewish holiday, while people were celebrating and dancing, Maynard Keller with Hope of Israel congregation, a messianic church, believes the timing of the attack was not a coincidence.

“It was definitely intentional, designed to inflict the greatest damage possible,” said Keller.

He says while Israel is no stranger to violent attacks, the nation hasn’t seen something of this magnitude in decades.

Local churches are also showing their support. Many are offering prayer services and speaking out against the violent attacks of Hamas.

“I think anybody regardless of faith would find what has happened, something unacceptable and we all want to come together and lend our voice,” said Jesse Caro, from Timberlake Church.

Keller says he stands with his Jewish community and encourages others, no matter their faith, to do the same.

“And when someone attacks one of us, they attack all of us,” said Keller.

The Hope of Israel congregation is accepting humanitarian aid donations for Israel. They say 100 percent of collected funds are tax-deductible and will be given to trusted organizations addressing immediate needs. You can learn more on their website.