Maale Adumim all fired up

Nearly a year after the devastating Carmel fire in Northern Israel that took 44 lives, Maale Adumim became the venue today for the dedication of several pieces of fire-fighting equipment, including two impressive crane trucks. One of these crane vehicles has been made possible through the generous contributions to Baltimore JNF.
Over 125 adults and children came to a new section of Maale Adumim today to take in an impressive display of fire-fighting power, and to listen to several people who made the vision of a new Maale Adumim regional fire department possible. Vice Prime Minister Silvan Shalom praised all the efforts to keep Maale Adumim strong and growing. Maale Adumim Ashkenazic chief Rabbi Yehoshua Katz shared his pride in what had been accomplished, and Mayor Benny Kashriel was generous in his appreciation of so many people without whose help none of what we saw was possible.
What did we see before our eyes? A huge crane truck that had compelling advantages over anything Maale Adumim had in its arsenal to effectively fight fires and save lives. One, it will replace the old and outdated large truck, which from the  old station took an excruciating 25 minutes to get to the heart of Maale Adumim. Having to climb the many steep streets, unable to move quickly, the old truck was adequate and dependable and chugged along as quickly as possible. The new truck is a state of the art piece of equipment with an excellence apparent to anyone.
More importantly, this new crane truck can now reach the highest story of any apartment building in Maale Adumim. The old one could not reach beyond a third floor. Now there is every chance for effective rescue of any citizen in the community.
One speaker pointed out that today is Rosh Chodesh Kislev, and this first day of the new month reminded us that we have begun the month containing Chanukah and is therefore a month of miracles. This new place, with this new equipment, will help create not only routine rescues, but also the miraculous ones.
Another speaker called today nothing less than a holiday, celebrating what has been dreamt about for years and seeing it come together in such a magnificent way. Chief Rabbi Katz, as a Kohen himself, graced the assembly with his Priestly Blessing, asking the Almighty to bestow safety, protection, and peace upon all.
Of course, at the very center of all the thank yous was profound appreciation to all the fire fighters present, and to those who put their lives on the line every day for Israeli citizens everywhere. Mention was made of how Israeli firefighters, like other life-saving professionals in Israel, help and rescue Arab and Jews alike in Judea and Samaria. Pride was also expressed by one firefighter in the enormous privilege of protecting every part of the Holy Land from disaster.
Today, I took much personal pride in attending the mid-afternoon ceremony.  As a former Baltimorean, I knew that one of those cranes was being made possible by the generosity of the Baltimore community. As well, I sat near Suzie Diamond Ben-David, another former Baltimorean, whose family in Baltimore continues to be very generous to JNF over the years. Some months ago we both had a picture taken in front of a piece of equipment donated by the Diamond family as well as Dr. Mort and Toby Mower. It’s great to discover more and more pieces of Baltimore right here in Maale Adumim.
As the old Maale Adumim fire station is moved to a new, more strategic location, accompanied by new equipment with the capability of rescuing and saving every life in this nearly 40,000 person community, it is felt that these developments signal the serious long term improvement of the entire Fire and Rescue system in Israel.
I pray that the shining and new equipment will never have to be used. But if it does, may all the efforts be a success, and may the trucks and the firefighters always come back to their new home, safe and sound.