On most evenings, Hillel House, the Jewish student center at the University of Maryland at College Park, is usually filled with happy students learning Israeli folk dances.
But yesterday evening, the television was on. Some 20 students gathered around were quickly sobered by the scenes of broken apartment buildings and injured civilians in Tel Aviv on the evening news.
The Jewish homeland had been attacked once again by Iraqi missiles -- this time with deadly results. Jewish residents who had seen Israel weather the attacks without serious harm, and who were now protected by Patriot missiles, saw it suffer its worst damage of the week-old anti-Iraq war.
"People were angry. They were saying they wished Israel would strike back at Iraq," said 23-year-old Sam Liebman, an English major who was watching the news at Hillel House.
Mr. Liebman said he was always monitoring the news these days at Hillel House, although the watching only made him anxious.
"It's scary. Every time Israel is attacked I don't know if one of my relatives will die," he said.
He has cousins in Tel Aviv, and his roommate at the University of Maryland is spending this semester in Jerusalem.
The roommate is trying -- so far unsuccessfully -- to volunteer for the Israeli army.
Representative Benjamin L. Cardin, D-Md.-3rd, whose district includes most of the Jewish communities in and around Baltimore, said he was "outraged by the continued efforts of Iraq to bring Israel into a conflict they're not a part of. . . . I fully expect Israel will take some action."
His Jewish constituents were equally angered and saddened at the suddenly lethal Scud missile attack. But few were surprised.
"There's no doubt that the Israelis have been prepared for this and knew that it would happen -- and that it may happen again," said Adam Kessler, the associate director of the Baltimore Jewish Council, the city's major Jewish community organization.
"Clearly, they will respond in some way, and in a way of their choosing. They are to be commended for their patience," Mr. Kessler said, "But the government is a democracy, and if the people demand it there will be a response."