Elad Bachar, a paramedic from United Hatzalah emergency services in Israel, tells of how and his team were at a gas station en route to the Moldovan capital, Chisinau, to help refugees from Ukraine. There, he saw a familiar site at home, though one unexpected in rural Moldova: a boy wearing a black kippah. The two struck up a conversation in Hebrew.

A few minutes later, the paramedic met the rest of the boy’s family, including his father, Rabbi Yechiel Shlomo Levitansky, who directs Chabad-Lubavitch of Sumy, Ukraine, with his wife, Ruchi. The rabbi recounted how they had fled Sumy in northeastern Ukraine—some 19 miles from the Russian border—on Thursday morning and traveled 32 hours nonstop to Moldova despite snowy roads and a war raging around them.

It was, said Bachar, something like a story out of a movie. Think about what you would do if you were in that situation, he wrote in a post on social media. What would be inside three hastily packed suitcases? How would it feel to flee a war zone with your children in tow?

Hearing about the Levitanskys’ escape from Ukraine, he said, should inspire people to put life’s ups and downs into perspective.

That, however, wasn’t the end of the story, as the rabbi then asked Bachar if he’d like to put on tefillin.

“How much mental strength can a person have in such a difficult situation, but still be busy thinking about the other and doing good for all around him?” wrote Bachar. “I put on tefillin with tears in my eyes, happy for the privilege that has fallen on my part to help others—to help people who so need a kind word and warm hug.”

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.