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Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post
With classes canceled, students extend helping hand to snowed-in Jerusalemites
By LIDAR GRAVE-LAZI
16/12/2013
The Hebrew University in Jerusalem was among the hardest hit as the city effectively shut down due to the snowstorm.
 
Students were still recovering on Sunday from the severe weather that shut down university campuses across the country.

The Hebrew University in Jerusalem was among the hardest hit as the city effectively shut down due to the snowstorm.

With classes canceled, many students took to the streets of the capital to help those in need. According to the university’s Facebook page, more than 250 students and faculty members volunteered over the course of the weekend to help Jerusalem residents without electricity.

“If you have electricity it’s great to have a lot of free time to write a paper that’s due, but if you don’t your situation is not so good. I lucked out because I had electricity, warm water and warm food,” Hebrew University political science and communications student Elizabeth Zlatkiss said.

Zlatkiss decided to spend her weekend volunteering at the city council offices answering phones and passing out supplies to those without power.

“During the morning I was sitting at the Irya [city hall] and I wrote a post on Facebook saying we were looking for blankets and food,” she said.

Emanuel Miller, who is also studying political science and communications at the Hebrew University, responded to Zlatkiss’s Facebook post and, along with his roommate, went door to door in buildings without power offering warm food and asking elderly residents what supplies they needed.

“I was really planning on getting a lot of work done while classes were canceled, but I put it all to the side. My studies are really important, but I have no complaints if I help pass out food and help people stay warm. I think in the grand scheme of things it takes precedence,” said Miller.

“Every building I went to I gave options as to what the city council could provide them and I made a list and then contacted the municipality with the apartment and house numbers,” explained Miller.

“They were providing heaters – which ran out, and army kits, hand-warmers, candles and warm food.”

The Hebrew University announced on Sunday evening that all classes and work would resume beginning at noon on Monday.

Ariel University announced it would remain closed on Monday. The campus was hard-hit as entrances and exits were blocked and students living in dormitories experienced power outages.

Students living on campus in old caravans were ordered to leave immediately and find shelter in the dormitory buildings.

The caravans were damaged in the storm by falling trees, water leaks and loose electric wires.

The student union at Ariel University helped homeless students find hosts in the dormitory buildings for the weekend.

“The university needs to check the dormitory situation and especially the caravans. The events on Saturday proved the immediate danger of these structures that are not fit for human habitation,” said Adina Berlin, vice chairwoman of the Ariel University Student Union.

Classes at Ariel University are set to resume on Tuesday, though some students still have nowhere to stay.

“Nice that class will resume on Tuesday, but I am from the North and my caravan is blocked by trees and power lines, so where am I supposed to live?” a wrote student on the university Facebook page.

Bar-Ilan University issued a statement late on Saturday night saying that due to road blockages in Jerusalem and in towns in Judea and Samaria, all morning classes at the Ramat Gan campus and all classes at the Safed Medical School were canceled on Sunday.

Many students posted comments on the university Facebook page in response, expressing a mixture of ridicule and anger over the decision and urging the school to cancel all classes at the Ramat Gan campus.

“As someone who lives in Safed, I must say this is a bit funny, whoever can arrive at noon can most likely arrive earlier as well, and those who really have a problem will not be able to arrive even after 12,” a student posted on the Bar-Ilan Facebook page.

On Sunday morning, the university issued another statement canceling all classes for the day. Exams were held as planned, with an alternate date for students who were unable to get to campus given the weather.

Classes at the university are scheduled to resume on Monday.
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