When the Carmel fires were raging a few months ago, Jenna Adler, a teacher at Brookline’s Maimonides School wanted to do something, and she knew her colleagues and students would want to help too. Out of those ashes, Haifa-thon was born.
Developed as a project to raise funds and awareness for the Boston Jewish community’s sister city, Haifa-thon had three goals — to teach kids about the Israeli city, raise their awareness about the risks and challenges of firefighting and raise money to help firefighters in Haifa, the Boston Jewish community’s sister city. After all, Haifa, Israel’s third largest city is not always front of mind as Jerusalem with its holy sites or Tel Aviv with its beaches and buzzing night life.
The project kicked off last month and just concluded with a quiz for students in grades K-5 that tested their knowledge of all things Haifa. Students enlisted sponsors who would donate money for each correct answer. The educational aspect of the program also included a visit by Brookline firefighters who told the kids about the difficulties of firefighting and the difference of fighting fires in building versus forests. Some of the older Maimonides students also had an opportunity to videoconference with peers at an elementary school in Haifa to learn firsthand about their experiences. In addition, a local representative from the Jewish National Fund spoke about Israel’s forestation and water conservation programs.
The initial fundraising goal was to raise enough money to purchase one firefighters helmet for Haifa. Ultimately, the project raised over $3550 — enough to buy five helmets, a hose nozzle and three trees!