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      Jewish Organizations Help Fire Victims

      Jewish Agency helps evacuated children enjoy their Chanukah vacation while Selah assists families of immigrant victims.
      By Elad Benari
      First Publish: 12/6/2010, 5:11 AM / Last Update: 12/6/2010, 8:47 AM

      Flash 90

      As the fire on the Carmel was finally put out on Sunday, Jewish organizations began to offer their support to the many victims of the largest fire in Israel’s history. Help has been offered to both those who were evacuated from their homes as well as the families of the victims of the fire.

      One such organization is the Jewish Agency, which as of Sunday began to provide organized educational activity for the hundreds of children from communities in the North who were evacuated from their homes because of the fire, and are currently on their Chanukah vacation from school.

      The initiative included organized educational activities for children which took place in localities which are safe and distant from the fire, and included outings and performances in the center of the country. 

      Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said that since the fire broke out Thursday, representatives of Jewish communities around the world have been calling, offering assistance, and expressing their condolences to the stricken families and good wishes to the security and rescue services. “The unity of the Jewish People and the solidarity of Jewish communities with the State of Israel are expressed at such times”, said Sharansky.

      The special activities for the children are being run in coordination with government authorities and in cooperation with the Migdal Or (Lighthouse) Association and the Noar Ha’oved ve Halomed youth movement. Ezra youth movement sent its members from house to house to collect donations for the evacuated families. 

      Another organization which has been providing help to the victims of the fire is Selah, the Israel Crisis Management Centre for immigrants and their families.  The organization has been in constant contact with hospitals and medical teams, and its qualified team of experts is prepared to provide vital emotional and logistical support and care. Selah teams were on hand at the funerals and homes of the several families of immigrant victims out of the 41 victims of the fire.

      Selah focuses on assisting immigrants to deal with crisis and trauma, since such families may lack an immediate support network, language or cultural know how to have the necessary access to public and emergency services.

      The Jewish Agency and Jewish communities have also launched a fundraising campaign for victims of the fire. Further information is available on the Jewish Agency’s website at www.jewishagency.org