With the immediate threat of war behind them, Jewish residents of the Eastern European republic of Georgia are rebuilding their lives after evacuations and military incursions last month left their futures in the country in doubt. The Tbilisi day school operated by Chabad-Lubavitch Rabbi Meir and Tzippora Kozlovsky is even reporting an increase in enrollment for the school year beginning next week.

Eti Betskashvili, a secretary at the Chabad-Lubavitch center in the Georgian capital, said that while many Jews went to Israel or Turkey, she stayed behind because she didn’t want to leave her home.

“Why should I go? This is the place where I was born,” said Betskashvili, 21, who has also served in the Israeli army during the Second Lebanon War in 2006. “When things are good, I am here, so when things are bad, why should I run away?”

According to Betskashvili, the blood drive she helped organize during the war drew a sizable percentage of Tbilisi’s Jews as well as refugees from the outlying city of Gori.

All told, more than 1,000 members of the local Jewish community left three weeks ago with the help of the Israeli Embassy and the Kozlovskys, who handed out kosher food at the airport to departing passengers and air crews. Most have returned home.

Two of those helped during the evacuation were Yoni and Gitit Malka, who were visiting the country from Israel.

“It was very scary. We arrived the day the war started,” said Gitit Malka.

Shut out of their hotel, which had turned into a refugee center for Georgians, the Malkas turned to the Chabad House, where they found two other Israeli couples stranded because of the war.

“The little Chabad House gave a really wonderful feeling,” continued Malka. “It gave us strength. Their welcome to us uplifted our souls.”

Some 20 displaced Georgian Jews are still living in Ohr Avner Chabad Day School in Tbilisi, and are receiving food and clothing from the local Jewish community apparatus.

According to Tzippora Kozlovsky, 12 new students will be attending the school, bringing the enrolment to 93 students in the elementary school and filling its kindergarten to capacity with 64 children.

“Because of the war,” she said, “some families that didn’t have any connection to the community now want to be part of the community.”