OU ‘Torah Club’ Youth Mark Carmel Fire Disaster
Israeli youth in Orthodox Union (OU) “D’oraita [Torah] Clubs marked the anniversary of the Carmel fire disaster by learning that putting out fires “is not so simple.”
Hundreds of youth from the 18 OU clubs throughout Israel, mainly from areas outside urban centers, visited fire stations.
The youth met fire crews, who tested them with a firefighting exercise that quickly showed the visitors that dealing with fires is not such an easy task. The firemen related personal stories of heroism and talked with the young people on how they dealt with the Carmel disaster, in which 44 prison cadets and firemen were killed, including a young firefighting volunteer.
The visiting youth received a certificate for their volunteer efforts.
The “D’Oraita Clubs” were established six years in the name of OU activist Jack Gindi as a positive to answer to excessive spare time among youth, whose boredom leads some into alcoholism and violence. Gindi tried to instill in the young people the attitude of community service rather than the “I deserve everything” view.
Equipped with pool tables, video games, ping pong and a modest Beit Midrash for learning Torah and praying, the clubs help bolster self-confidence and strengthen Jewish identity.
Evenings at D’Oraita clubs include short Torah classes, discussions of moral issues, seminars on violence prevention and financial responsibility. In addition, Sabbath eve dinners and Land of Israel hikes promote Jewish identity and strengthen the youths’ connection to their heritage.