Fire consumes a building near Jerusalem, May 23.
(photo credit: FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE)
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ) launched a campaign on Friday to help the dozens of families from Moshav Mevo Modi’im left homeless after a raging fire consumed their homes on Thursday.
The families had 15 minutes to escape as a brush fire, exacerbated by a heat wave and strong winds, encroached. Many families were home with their children and guests due to the Lag Ba’omer holiday. Mevo Modi’im was founded by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach (1925-1994), also known as the singing rebbe. Many of the residents embrace the counterculture, alternative lifestyle within the observant Jewish world.
IFCJ head Yael Eckstein told The Jerusalem Post
that when she heard of the fire and of the families made homeless, she realized that IFCJ must step in. The IFCJ campaign will match dollar-for-dollar all contributions made to its site, with the goal of reaching $500,000.
“We realized we need to be the first to respond, as we always are in situations in Israel when people need help to break through bureaucracy and need immediate care,” she explained.
Eckstein spoke with Brachie Sprung of the International Office of Jerusalem Partnerships of the Schusterman Fellowship, who herself grew up on the Carlebach moshav, and the two decided to launch a joint effort to aid the burned-out families.
“We agreed to use our emergency funds to match any donations gathered online,” she said. “So far, the largest single donation had been $10,000.”
Sprung wrote an emotional post on Facebook after the fires, writing, “My beautiful moshav has gone down in flames today. I watched on live TV from NYC as my childhood home, memories and neighborhood were torn down by blazing flames. EVERYTHING is gone. My friends and I have launched an emergency relief campaign for our parents, family and friends.
“We, the children of the moshav, who were raised in this beautiful community, are asking you to help rebuild what we have all lost,” she wrote, asking people to donate to the IFFJ fund
Another fund has been set up to raise money for the renovations of the destroyed homes. The damage is estimated to be in the millions of shekels.
According to Yossi Elimelech, director-general of the Mevo Modi’im Council, donations can be made to “the Residents Association for the Residents of Mevo Modi’im,” Bank Leumi, H-02227840, Yehud branch (No. 617).
One Mevo Modi’im resident said that there had been an outpouring of clothing and toys donations, but the biggest needs now were playpens/cribs, suitcases and large bags, baby carriers, and new and unused toiletries and sanitary products. Another resident posted that the CEO of Shoresh Sandals was donating sandals to all residents of the moshav.
David Brinn contributed to this report.