Watch: Mevo Modi'im residents search in the rubble for memories

They escaped with their lives but lost their homes. 'It's an honor to be part of this nation. We've received an outpouring of love.'

Yoni Kempinski,

Mevo Modi'im
Mevo Modi'im
Credit: Yoni Kempinski

Arutz Sheva spoke with residents of Mevo Modi'im, a community founded by Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach which was almost completely destroyed by fire last week during a rash of wildfires in the area. All of the approximately 250 residents of what was known as "the Moshav" were safely evacuated in time but 40 out of 50 homes in the village were completely destroyed.

Cookie Solomon poignantly told Arutz Sheva, "I'm searching through the rubble to just find some memories to take." She managed to retrieve a candle holder her six-year-old daughter had made, the cup of Eliyahu they used at their Passover seder and one shell from her daughter's shell collection.

Solomon said that everyone managed to leave the moshav unharmed and that's the most important thing. "We've been getting such an outpouring of love from all over - strangers, friends. It's really heartwarming and inspiring and we just hope we can rebuild soon."

Israel Portnoy told Arutz Sheva that during the early afternoon on Thursday, they were told to gather at the entrance to the moshav. "No one knew the level of seriousness. My wife and I walked out of the house without anything except for the guitar I was holding. That was the last time we'd ever leave the house."

Portnoy is a musician and he lost everything, including over 15 instruments, some of which were vintage and are irreplaceable. But as he said, "The physical stuff I'll get back eventually. It was the writings, the songs, the recordings I'll never get back - I'll never have again."

"It's a complete horror movie," Portnoy said. "But on the other hand, it's bittersweet. It's somewhere between total loss - having nothing but ourselves and our human relationships - each other, family and friends. On the other hand, the outpouring of love and support is really overwhelming. It's an honor to be part of this nation, of this country."