• The burned remains of the Brat’s porch. The Brat family was among the hundreds of families that received assistance.

    The burned remains of the Brat’s porch. The Brat family was among the hundreds of families that received assistance.

    Courtesy of Odelia Brat
  • The Brats’ son finds his tin bank, with the money he earned mowing lawns unscathed.

    The Brats’ son finds his tin bank, with the money he earned mowing lawns unscathed.

    Courtesy of Odelia Brat
  • The damage to the Brat’s home was extensive; the outside was barely recognizable.

    The damage to the Brat’s home was extensive; the outside was barely recognizable.

    Courtesy of Odelia Brat
  • The upstairs of the Brats’ home, after the fire.

    The upstairs of the Brats’ home, after the fire.

    Courtesy of Odelia Brat
  • The outside of the Brats’ home after the fire. The Brat family expressed their gratitude for the immediate assistance.

    The outside of the Brats’ home after the fire. The Brat family expressed their gratitude for the immediate assistance.

    Courtesy of Odelia Brat
Jewish Social Action

Helping Fire Victims, Family by Family

The Brat family and other fire victims receive immediate assistance, made possible by our partners around the world.

Members of The Jewish Agency’s Emergency and Special Tasks team have been traveling all over Israel – to every fire-ravaged city, town and neighborhood. This team continues to deliver much-needed grants of $1,000 – each made possible by the generosity of our partnering organizations – to families who have lost almost everything to the flames.

On November 30, Terri Cherbite and Julie Mendelsohn delivered a grant to the Brat family in Talmon. They met with Odelia Brat – wife to Ohad, and mother to their six children, ages 20, 18, 15, 13, 10, and 6.

The Brat family had already evacuated their home once and returned when they received the all clear. They thought their home had escaped destruction. But sadly, they received evacuation orders a second time.

The family grabbed a few important items they had packed the first time they thought they were in danger. The next time the Brats saw their house, the upstairs was blackened, and the outside of the home was unrecognizable.

Odelia and Ohad celebrated their son’s bar mitzvah in the early fall this year. All his presents were under his bed, and were destroyed. After they evacuated their home, he thought his new tefillin – the parchment bearing leather boxes worn during prayers; a gift from his grandparents – were left behind in the house. The child was distraught. But after a few hours, he realized that his father had managed to take the tefillin along with the items he grabbed before they evacuated.

Another of the Brat’s sons believed that the money he had earned this past summer mowing lawns in the community had been destroyed. But a friend unearthed the boy’s badly burned tin bank a few days later, and found that the money – though dirty, and damp – was not destroyed.

Hopefully by next summer, the Brats’ son can return to his neighborhood, and mow the freshly regrown lawns.

Buoyed by this small though happy finding amongst the remnants of what was once their home, the Brats are looking forward to rebuilding their house, and their lives.  

Odelia said that the amount of care, concern, giving, help and support they have received thanks to the Jewish Agency and our partners has left her speechless.

The Brat family is one of an estimated 700 homes across Israel that have been damaged or destroyed.

Generous contributions from our partners, the Jewish Federations of North America – led by the Jewish United Fund of Metropolitan Chicago (JUF), and Combined Jewish Philanthropies – Boston’s Jewish Federation (CJP) – as well as Keren Hayesod, and other donors around the world, have allowed The Jewish Agency to deliver more than 550 grants of $1,000 each to families in need. The grants are being delivered in areas affected around the country, including in Haifa, Zichron Yaakov, Mateh Yehuda, Mateh Binyamin, Nirit, and Gilon.

Yael Raz, director of Jewish Agency’s Special Operations and Emergency Response team, has been out in the field in the past two weeks, helping award the grants. “People are very moved by the fact that, at such a difficult moment in their lives, when they needed money to buy clothes, to live, they receive a check from a Jew from the other side of the world,” Raz said.

We will continue to keep you informed of all that The Jewish Agency is doing to help the families who have lost their property to the fires. We are grateful to our partners for their generosity, which has helped to make our efforts to provide hope and comfort to the fire victims – like Odelia, Ohad, and their six children – possible.

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Read More:

Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky, and Barry Shrage, president of CJP Greater Boston, visited families in Haifa who have lost nearly everything. 

A Crisis of New Proportions - A community in the Jerusalem Hills was just one of many across Israel hit by the fire. For the Levy family, the timing couldn’t have been worse.

08 Dec 2016 / 8 Kislev 5777 0
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