Living in New Jersey, Grieving for Over 100 Relatives Killed in Gaza

The call came in around 4 p.m., while Adam Abo Sheriah was still at work in his pharmacy in New Jersey.The voice on the other end was sobbing.

It took a few minutes for Adam to understand: His uncle’s home in Gaza City had been hit by Israeli airstrikes. His parents and his brother’s wife and children were inside, taking shelter after their own homes were bombed. Also struck nearby was a block of multifamily buildings in a neighborhood of Gaza City, home to many relatives and their families, who were hunkered down together.

It was the day before Thanksgiving, and Adam’s pharmacy in Paterson was packed with customers, some of them picking up turkeys he was giving away. But Adam couldn’t stay. After the call, he walked out in a daze. His mind swirling with questions, he got in his car and started driving nowhere in particular.

While on the road, he picked up his phone and started calling his family in Gaza. His father didn’t answer. Neither did his mother. He tried his brothers. Nothing. He tried every relative and friend in Gaza.

Taking his youngest daughter Taly to school gives Adam a few moments of normalcy.

Over the next eight hours, his frantic calls continued, but few details emerged. Soon it was midnight in New Jersey. The sun was just rising in Gaza. Reports were finally starting to come in. His family’s Gaza home was flattened, the whole block was gone. Voices beneath the rubble cried for help, he was told. But there was no way to dig them out. Eventually, the voices fell silent. Adam’s youngest brother, Ahmed, 37, the ambitious, energetic civil engineer, the children’s favorite who brought toys and fireworks, was found dead in the street.

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