As war intensified in Georgia Monday, thousands of Jews in the former Soviet republic adjusted to living in a war zone. With his constituents hunkered down in their homes, the country’s chief rabbi, Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Avraham Michaelashvili, announced a three-day blood drive to help the injured.

News reports indicated that at least 1,600 people have died in the clash, which began Aug. 7 when Georgian forces entered the breakaway province of South Ossetia.

An estimated 12,000 Jews live in Georgia, mostly in the capital city of Tbilisi.

“There are a lot of injured, a lot of dead,” said Eti Betskashvili, secretary of the Tbilisi-based Michaelashvili. “No place is safe. Everyone is in their homes. Some of our community are in the army. My children are home all day; there is no where to go.”

For his part, Michaelashvili said that the community is praying for peace.

“We are praying that everyone returns to their families unharmed,” said the rabbi.

Michaelashvili presides over a network of schools and synagogues, as well as soup kitchens in cities throughout Georgia.

“We are doing the utmost to ensure that each and every Jew’s needs are met,” he said.

Rabbi Meir Kozlovsky, director of the Ohr Avner Chabad Jewish Day School in Tbilisi, told Israeli reporters that he was working to ensure safe passage for some 50 Jewish families vacationing near the Black Sea.