28 December 2016
As Chanukah ends, we can appreciate the constructive and creative use of fire and light. But recent events in Israel and the U.S. remind us of the destructive force of fire. Israel has assessed the widespread destruction and tallied the damages caused by five days of wildfires. We know that 2,500 firefighters fought an unprecedented 480 blazes, thousands of homes were damaged by fire, in Haifa, some 60,000 residents were evacuated and more than 1,600 Haifa residents were made homeless. 32,000 acres of natural forest land was burned.
The miracle was that despite the destruction, there were no fatalities. A total of 180 people were treated by medical staff. Chanukah means re-dedication, and seeing the dedication of the firefighters, from Israel, the Palestinian Authority and from all over the world filled us with light. The dedication of Israelis from all backgrounds fills us with hope.
We wish you a Happy New Year – a 2017 filled with continuing light and hope.