SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — A Central New York couple was supposed to be arriving in Israel on Tuesday, Oct. 10, for a months-planned trip before the weekend attacks forced them to stay home.

Dr. Irving Raphael, the retired orthopedist best known as the long-time head physician for Syracuse University Athletics, was going to be part of a medical delegation to discuss healthcare in Israel.

He was going to be joined by his wife, Ava, both regular travelers to Israel. He spent a semester of medical school there before they began making near-annual trips.

“We were all packed,” Dr. Rapahel explained. Then, he got first word Saturday morning in a text message. It read: “‘Oh, it’s horrible. I hope you’re safe. I hope you haven’t left yet.'”

He immediately called friends and family.

“Israel is a small country. Everyone knows someone who’s been affected. We called our close friends,” Dr. Raphael said. “Their son’s best friend was killed at the music festival. Their neighbor’s cousin was kidnapped.”

His sadness extends far beyond a simple missed trip.

“When I revisit all this, yes, I get angry. I also feel helpless. There’s nothing I can do about it except maybe educate people to why Jews live on this little sliver of land in the Middle East and just want to live in peace,” said Dr. Raphael.