Yamin Orde Fire 311.
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
The Yamin Orde Youth Village is but a shell of its former self, with nearly a
dozen buildings left torched and gutted by the Carmel wildfire that tore through
it over the weekend.
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Situated in the Carmel outside the artists’ village
of Ein Hod, Yamin Orde is home to over 500 youths from 22 countries around the
world, according to the village’s website, as well as their Israeli guides, many
of whom are post-army or performing national service.
Though most of the
youths were students from families in Israel and abroad, the village also housed
a large number of orphans between the ages of nine and 19 from the former Soviet
On Monday, current and former students and teachers strolled
through the village, taking in the devastation. The ruined buildings included
student dormitories, houses of counselors, and the village convenience store,
library and workshop.
The workshop was a familiar spot for former student
Moshe Kaufmann, 23, who drove up from Herzliya on Monday to survey the
“I used to work here. All of the students are given a job in the
village, and mine was here in the workshop. I knew this place very well,” said
the Sao Paolo native, crestfallen in a T-shirt emblazoned with the Brazilian
“I spent the best three years of my life here. I’ve been all over
Israel, and there’s nowhere as beautiful as this place,” Kaufmann said, relating
stories of field trips, early morning services in the village synagogue, and
hiding among the pine trees with his then-girlfriend, breaking curfew and
keeping an eye out for the flashlight of the village guard.
going to say this place was perfect – we had some problems.
But every kid
who had the chance to live here was lucky. If I could live here again, I’d do it
in a heartbeat,” Kaufmann said, taking in the view toward the turquoise waters
off the naval commandos base in Atlit.
Following the destruction, Yamin
Orde launched a donation drive, asking the public to send anything it could to
help the youth village recover. The drive places a particular emphasis on the
orphans who lost their homes and are in need of clothes, furniture, school
supplies and home appliances.