Mother worries even though son escaped quake unhurt

Orna Barashi from J'lem fears the worst on hearing that earthquake had hit the city of Christchurch and that its Chabad House had been destroyed.

February 24, 2011 03:48
1 minute read.
RUBBLE OF what had been Christchurch Chabad House

Christchurch Chabbad house 311 . (photo credit: Jehuda Nitke/


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When Orna Barashi from Jerusalem heard on the news that an earthquake had hit the city of Christchurch and that its Chabad House had been destroyed, she feared the worst.

“My son had sent me an e-mail two days before telling me he had just arrived in Christchurch and that he was staying at the Chabad House until he found somewhere else,” she told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

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Luckily, her son, Arel Barashi, was not at the hassidic movement’s outreach center at the time of the quake, which killed scores of people.

“He was 20 kilometers away from the city center at a garage,” Barashi said.

“He called almost immediately after the news broke and told me he was fine. When he returned to the Chabad House he saw it was a pile of debris, but it turned out his baggage was stored at the rabbi’s house, which was unaffected by the earthquake.”

Like many Israelis his age, the 22-year-old Arel Barashi chose to go backpacking after his military service. New Zealand is only the first leg of his planned trip, which will take in parts of Asia as well.

After her son narrowly escaped injury, his mother is understandably concerned.

“Every few minutes, there’s an aftershock,” she said. “Last time I heard from him, they were being evacuated to a park for their own safety, away from the falling debris.”

For Barashi, being thousands of kilometers away from her son at a time of crisis isn’t easy, but it’s something she’s coping with.

“To say that I don’t worry?” she said. “I’m happy he survived, and that his baggage wasn’t buried. It’s worrying, and he has health issues, but he has just started his trip, and we don’t know if he’ll cut it short or go on to Asia.”

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