Dec. 10, 2010
On Thursday, December 2, a wildfire broke out in Israel's Carmel Forest near Usfiya village. The fire spread rapidly over the next four days until it was finally extinguished on December 6. In total, 42 people were killed, and 17,000 were forced to evacuate.
The Government of Israel estimates that fires damaged or destroyed 250 houses, and burned approximately 12,355 acres of land and more than 5 million trees. Israel was aided in firefighting efforts by a number of countries including, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Russia, the Palestinian Authority, Turkey, and the United States.
ARZA sprung into action upon receiving news of the fire. With the help of the URJ and IMPJ, we set up the ARZA Carmel Fire-Israel Emergency Fund to raise money for those affected. Within an hour of opening the fund and sending out an alert to our Rapid Response Team, we had already raised $1500!
Over the past week, checks and online donations have continued to pour in, and we want to say thank you to everyone who has given so far. As of Friday, we have raised more than $100,000, and are grateful to each and every one of you: the congregations, religious schools, and individuals, for your generosity.
Your response was inspiring:
- A religious school class donated their dreidel money.
- A number of congregations distributed our Rapid Response Alert to all of their congregants.
- One Federation sent ARZA’s appeal to their entire list of member congregations and institutions.
- Whether your gift was $10 or $1000, we could tell that it was heartfelt. Please know how much it meant to our Israel community who felt your love, care, and support.
On Monday, ARZA’s Director of Development, Barbara Kavadias, will participate in a call with USAID to discuss plans for reconstruction efforts to allow for effective coordination with other agencies. We will be working with IMPJ to determine the needs of their congregations and their plans to assist with reconstruction so we can insure that your dollars are being spent in the most effective and efficient manner possible. All money given to the campaign (minus the bank fees and related expenses) will go to Israel.
If you have not had a chance to donate, you can visit this link to help us help Israel.