Air raid sirens sounded throughout much of Israel on Friday as missiles from Gaza continued to rain down on civilian centers, reaching the Tel Aviv region for a second day. Responding to the attacks, Israel’s air force launched multiple strikes against targets in Gaza, and the Israel Defense Force called up thousands of reserve soldiers as the country massed ground forces near Gaza.

As Operation Pillar of Defense entered its third day, Chabad volunteers assisted first responders in the affected areas, and fanned out throughout the country to offer spiritual nourishment in the form of candle-lighting kits for the women and tefillin-laying for the men. Altogether they focused on uplifting the spirits of a populace traumatized by the seemingly endless barrage of rockets.

Chabad Terror Victims Project personnel visited bereaved families and the wounded, and offered counseling to many traumatized by the attacks country-wide, while Colel Chabad’s vaunted humanitarian efforts were moved to high gear in the form of meals for shut-ins, care for the elderly and displaced, and more.

Worldwide, Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries encouraged their communities to increase in their performance of good deeds for the sake of their brethren in Israel, while the Jewish website launched a special section promoting those same activities.

Meanwhile, the seven day post-burial mourning period known as “shivah” commenced for the three Kiryat Malachi residents killed on Thursday, schools again canceled their studies, and the all-too-familiar collective Israeli bracing, resolve and practical preparation intensified nationwide.

At Israel Defense Force bases near the Gaza strip, reserve soldiers greeted each other pensively as they strapped on their gear, commanders issued orders, and rabbis prepared to bless the troops in advance of a probable ground operation. At least 16,000 reservists have reportedly been called up to active duty, including members of units necessary for a full invasion.

In the coastal city of Ashkelon, visitor Tamar Yonah reported that she had just left the apartment where she was staying when a Grad Katyusha missile slammed into the area right next door. "Blaring siren, 15 seconds to run for cover, and then BOOM!” Yonah said. “I have many friends in the area who heard and felt the explosion... everything shook.”

Jews worldwide prepared for a Shabbat of increased prayer and love of fellow.