The Fire that Nearly Consumed my Daughter’s High School

The Fire that Nearly Consumed my Daughter’s High School

This past week Israel has been battling one of the most fierce and wide-spread waves of fires in its history. One of the worst-hit communities in the country has been Neve Tsuf (AKA Halamish), where the fire (which, like many of the fires nationwide, was set by Palestinian arsonists) burnt the homes of 20 families to the ground, and damaged another 40.

Neve Tsuf is a place which is very dear to my heart. It’s the home of my daughter, Hallel’s, high school, Ulpanat Shirat HaYam, a school for the arts for religious girls. Neve Tsuf is a gorgeous place– with thick foliage and many trees, beautiful homes and families. On Shabbat all of the families living in Neve Tsuf were evacuated, and Hallel’s school, which b”H the fire did not reach, was tranformed into the control center for government authorities to deal with the crisis.

Yesterday morning, Netanyahu’s cabinet met in Hallel’s 11th grade classroom (below) to discuss their response to the wide-spread damage done by the fires.

Netanyahu's cabinet meeting in my daughter's 11th grade classroom

Netanyahu’s cabinet meeting in my daughter’s 11th grade classroom

And yesterday afternoon, a bunch of Shirat HaYam students travelled to Jerusalem to raise money to help Neve Tsuf. When they told passersby that the money was going to families from Neve Tsuf whose homes were burned, people were very generous. The girls, incredibly, managed to raise 1000 NIS in one hour.

Shirat Hayam high school students raising money to help the fire's victims

Shirat Hayam high school students raising money to help the fire’s victims

Other Shirat Hayam students have spent many hours doing what they can in Neve Tsuf to help the families whose homes were destroyed or damaged.

In addition, an online appeal for donations to help the families has raised almost $150,000 in 36 hours, and the donation site has been flooded with dozens of offers of clothing, furniture, and even free housing for the fire’s victims.

I’ve been blown away to see how, in response to this crisis, Jews across the world have opened their hearts to assist their fellow Jews during their time of struggle.

Instead of getting stuck on, “Lama?”–“Why did this happen?” we, as Jews, jump right away to “L’ma?” “For what? What can I do to help shine light into this darkness?”

Mi K’amcha Yisrael.


  1. I hope that all Am Yisroel is safe and there is an end to this nightmare. It is so scary even to hear about it. So I am sure being there is worse. Keep safe

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