By now you may have heard the news of the devastating wildfire outside of Haifa, our sister city in Israel. We are heartbroken to report that forty-two people have lost their lives in the blaze, including one student from the Reali School, and three remain in critical condition at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa. According to Jewish National Fund officials, nearly 5,000 acres have burned, and 13,000 residents have been evacuated.
Because of the unique partnership between our two communities, the news of this disaster is very personal for many of us. The meaningful exchange programs with Haifa through our local schools, synagogues, hospitals and agencies have created deep friendships and powerful connections between us. Therefore, our response during their time of need must be immediate, significant and from the heart.
CJP’s Board of Directors has approved an initial contribution of $200,000 that is being wired to Haifa today. We are working very closely with the Mayor of Haifa, The Jewish Agency for Israel, the Jewish National Fund and The Haifa Foundation to understand and address both urgent and longer term needs. So far we have learned that there is a desperate need for emergency medical care, temporary housing for evacuated families and students, specialty fire trucks and rescue vehicles.
During the Second Lebanon War, CJP supported the creation of The Emergency Management Control Center in Haifa. Vered Israely, CJP’s representative in Haifa, is in close contact with the Mayor’s office and reports that the Center has been instrumental in activating professional rescue teams and volunteers.
I hope you will join us in supporting our friends in Haifa. Last night we established the Haifa Emergency Relief Fund. Click here to contribute.
Every dollar you give will be used to help the people of Haifa respond and rebuild from this natural disaster. For the latest updates on this disaster and CJP’s response, please visit www.cjp.org or find us on Facebook and Twitter.