As deadly rocket assaults on Kiev (Kyiv) accelerated and the prospect of street fighting between Ukrainian defenders and advancing Russian troops became more likely, leaders of the Kiev Jewish community—speaking through third parties who said they did not know the community leaders’ locations—pleaded for prayers.

Communications with rabbis and others in Kiev have become increasingly sporadic throughout the six days of the Russian assault on Ukraine, getting more difficult as the fighting in and around Kiev intensifies.

For those attempting to flee westward, shellings, congested roads and scarce fuel all contribute to the harrowing and protracted nature of what would normally be a seven-hour drive to Poland or a six-hour drive to Moldova.

At the time of writing, the group has been on the road for 12 hours and has yet to reach the border.

Since the beginning, Chabad-Lubavitch emissaries have been doing all within their power to care for their communities. At this point, some are leading convoys of Jewish community members out of their rocket-pummeled cities, while others have made the increasingly difficult decision to remain behind and face what comes.

Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, is home to nearly 20 Chabad emissary couples, who serve as rabbis, educators, humanitarian workers and more.

A source close to a Chabad emissary who has lived in the Ukrainian capital for more than two decades shared that the emissary and her family were part of an armed convoy toward an unnamed border with the hopes of flying to Israel.

Without enough room on the bus, some evacuees were forced to follow in a private vehicle with a nearly-empty gas tank, which was filled at a gas station opened just for them.

The danger on the road is real, and the refugees are well aware that 41-year-old Roman Brodsky, an Israeli citizen, was killed yesterday while attempting to reach Romania.

Looking ahead to helping their community resettle in Israel, the emissaries are realistic about the astronomical costs and logistical challenges they will face, and are turning to the international Jewish community for support.

As they set out on their journey, they dispatched a relative with a list of Hebrew names to be read at the Ohel, the resting place of the Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—himself a native of Ukraine.

“I’m waiting for this nightmare to end,” said the source. “For now, pray for us, and pray for the region.”

The Ukraine Jewish Relief Fund has been established to help provide assistance to the Jewish communities in Ukraine impacted by the war.

Click here for a prayer you can say and a list of good deeds you can do in the merit of the protection of all those in harm’s way.