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Norfolk's Jewish community sending support, prayers to victims in Miami building collapse

Leaders at Chabad of Tidewater said Chabad members of The Shul Jewish Community Center in Miami were in the Florida condo building that collapsed.

NORFOLK, Va. — More than 150 lives hang in the balance in Miami.

On Thursday, the wing of Champlain Tower South suddenly collapsed in the middle of the night.

Rescue crews were desperately digging through rubble Friday, as the death toll climbed.

“This is just so surreal, and lives literally hanging on life or death,” said Rabbi Levi Brashevitzky.

Brashevitzky was clinging to hope as he watched from more than 900 miles away.

"We don’t think of buildings collapsing, we think of buildings as a source of structure and safety," Brashevitzky said. "Children sleeping in bunkbeds, and then you see a bunk bed in the image there, and that child is who knows where."

He’s a leader at Chabad of Tidewater, in Norfolk. He said Chabad members of The Shul Jewish Community Center in Miami were in the condo building that collapsed in Florida.

"People are coming there, and they are looking for their loved ones," Brashevitzky told 13News Now. "They are trying to find their loved ones, but they can’t even get to them."

The Rabbi in Florida told Brashevitzky more than a dozen people from his congregation were missing. Brashevitzky has family members who live near the site of the collapse.

“My niece has a classmate whose father was on the 10th floor of the building, and they still have not found them yet," Brashevitzky said.

As the search for survivors takes place – there is hope being sent that way from Hampton Roads.

"We ask them to take the opportunity to light candles this evening before sunset," Brashevitzky said. "Use that holiness of light and sanctity to bring peace and bring prayers to the loved ones and to our fellow brothers and sisters, Jews and beyond."

No matter how you worship, Brashevitzky said any bit of support could help bring families back together in Florida.

"We say prayers and we do acts of kindness, so this time we come together and support them in ways of love and prayer that can uplift them,"  Brashevitzky said.

The Chabad Jewish Community Center in Miami is collecting donations to support the families waiting to hear if their loved ones will make it out. You can make a donation here.

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