Young Israel of West Hartford raised over $3,300 in donations and directed other direct contributions to help support Israelis displaced by the devastating fires this past November, and to resupply Israel’s Fire & Rescue Services. The 1,773 fires in Israel left 1,600 Israelis homeless and destroyed hundreds of apartments and buildings, and 4,900 acres of forests and open land.
Young Israel of West Hartford members Fran and Gene Wittenberg spearheaded the synagogue’s effort reaching out to the Greater Hartford community with an emergency request asking the community to join forces to help our brothers and sisters in Israel through direct financial aid. The money raised through Young Israel of West Hartford’s Israel Fire Emergency Fund reached the people of Neve Tzuf, a community that suffered extensive damage; the town of,Zichron Yaakov, which needs blankets and other pressing items as well as helped resupply and aid Israel’s Fire & Rescue Services though the Jewish National Fund - JNF Emergency Fund and to the Jewish Federations of North America Emergency Fund"
Rabbi Tuvia Brander of Young Israel of West Hartford commented, “At moments like these, it is incumbent upon us to come together as a community to take action and show our support for our brothers and sisters in Israel.” This project continues to build on one of Young Israel of West Hartford’s core mission goals — to promote and strengthen our connection to the people of Israel, the land of Israel and the State of Israel.
With thanks to the Almighty, it seems that the situation in Israel continues to improve as heroic fire crews continue to get a handle on the devastating fires of last week. Yet, as the dust settles, the difficult road to recovery begins as thousands have been displaced, lost their homes and all their belongings.
Towards that end, we are directing our Young Israel’s Israel Fire Emergency Fund to support causes in Israel helping assist those displaced by the fires as well as helping resupply the first responders and fire fighter. We ask for your continued support as this is only the beginning of the recovery process. You may continue to donate through the Young Israel’s Israel Fire Emergency Fund as 100% of your donation will go to help people in Israel. Donation can be dropped off at the synagogue or made through the website. If you have any questions or concerns about donations that have already been made, please feel free to reach out.
Additionally, please consider a generous donation to one of the following causes working to help in Israel:
- Neve Tzuf: This yishuv (community) suffered extensive damage and is crowdfunding for community needs. Online secure and official site for contributions: https://www.projector.org.il/he/projects/73/
- Zichron Yaakov: Collecting for immediate needs such as blankets and other pressing items: http://www.moed.org.il/emergency-fire-fund
- JNF Emergency Fund: JNF is raising emergency funds to aid Israel's Fire & Rescue Services. https://secure2.convio.net/…/Donation2;jsessionid=70C5FA7F9…
- Jewish Federations of North America: JFNA Emergency fund going to support those affected by the fires. https://secure-fedweb.jewishfederations.org/page/contribute/israel-fire-emergency-fund
- Hashomer Hachadash: Grassroots protection of farms – organization website: http://www.hashomer.org.il/ Secure crowdfunding: https://www.youcaring.com/hashomerhachadash-699792
Thank you again for your support and action during this time of great need. May the Almighty protect and bless our first responders and fire fighters and provide comfort and relief to all those in need.
Like many of you, as I anxiously follow the situation in Israel, I find myself struggling to find something—anything— meaningful to be apart or that I can do to help. I feel trapped in a feeling of helplessness as I read about attack after attack without being able to do anything.
Of course, I am reminded that as Jews we must appreciate the tremendous power our prayer hold as well as the need to continue to be proactive in advocating for a strong US-Israel relationship. But is there something more we can be doing at these perilous moments of crisis?
I was recently approach by the Shmira Project—a group coordinating Jews from across the globe to sign up and fill every moment of every day for the next week with uninterrupted Torah study. As the Talmud (Makkot 10a) cites,
R. Joshua b. Levi said: What is the meaning of the [Psalmist's] words, “Our feet stood within your gates, O Jerusalem?” [It is:] What helped us to maintain our firm foothold in war? The gates of Jerusalem — the place where students engaged in the study of Torah!
The Talmud teaches us that when the Jewish people are under attack and engaged in battle, the battle can be fought on two fronts: first and foremost, with our holy soldiers, the dedicated men and women of the Israeli Defense Forces, but also secondly with constant Torah study as a merit for a "firm foothold" for our soldiers.
As of this moment, the Shmira Project has joined hundreds of Jews across the world to ‘stand guard’ by learning Torah together. Every hour of every day has been parceled out several times over for this week. We have been asked to do our part in this global enterprise and we are privileged to be taking our turn of Shmira (guard duty) this Sunday (October 18) from 9-10 am. In conjunction with some of the local shuls, we invite you to join us for an hour of communal Torah study. Minyan Sunday morning will begin as scheduled at 8:15 followed by light refreshments and this Shmira learning.
I hope you can all join us. Please left spread the word throughout the community. May we only see a swift end to the violence and terror in our homeland and the beginning of a true and lasting peace.
Rabbi Tuvia Brander
YIWH's Adopted IDF Units
Thanks to the diligent efforts of Bob Harris, the Young Israel of West Hartford has adopted three IDF units in which soldiers with roots in our community are serving. A special campaign has been set up by Yashar Lachayal, an organization whose mission is to "bring soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces what they need when they need it." Donations of either money or requested items (or both) can be made to the following address and should indicate that the gift is being made through the "Young Israel of West Hartford - Support for the IDF" campaign:Friends of Yashar Lachayal 49 Lawrence Lane Lawrence, New York 11559
Contributions may also be made online at their website: