Kenya's small Jewish community is living each day as it comes as their country descends into political turmoil following a closely contested election marred by charges that the party of President Mwai Kibaki tampered with votes.

"Things are very volatile there," reported Rabbi Shlomo Bentolila, director of Chabad of Central Africa, by telephone Thursday. "Everyone is afraid of the unknown."

According to the 17-year veteran of Jewish outreach in the continent's midsection, the some 400 Jewish residents of Kenya – mostly made up of expatriate Americans, Canadians and Israelis, although several are the native-born descendants of European immigrants – have tried to maintain normalcy in the Nairobi neighborhood where most of them live.

It's been tough, however, as riots in the surrounding countryside – between 500 and 1,000 people have been killed from the violence resulting from a breakdown in negotiations between Kibaki and opposition leader Raila Odinga – constantly threaten to spill into the more urban parts of the capital city.

"They're still going to work," said Bentolila, who is based in the Democratic Republic of Congo and maintains almost daily contact with community leaders in Kenya. "There's been no major direct physical impact, thank G‑d."

Daniel Pollack, a 21-year-old student at Queens College in New York, told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Tuesday that the U.S. Embassy informed in that a war was imminent. Pollack, who had gone to Kenya to distribute donations to a school in the city of Kibera, left Sunday for Egypt.

"I saw a lot of destruction," he said. "I saw minivans burned out in the middle of the road, hundreds of shops burned and destroyed."

Bentolila, who arranges for rabbinical students to visit the community every summer, said everyone appears to be in a wait-and-see mode.

"Kenya has never really been through any revolutions," he said. "The country is not used to this."