(JNS.org) Major wild bushfires in Australia have forced many families to evacuate, including in the Jewish community. According to reports, about 30 such fires are still raging and have burned 300,000 acres of forest. Two hundred homes have been destroyed.
“All my possessions were incinerated… It’s difficult and emotionally traumatizing,” David Lake, whose home in the Blue Mountains not far from Sydney was destroyed, told Haaretz. He managed to recover a kiddush cup, which though completely black is still usable. “Isn’t that wonderful?” he said, adding that the mezuzah on the front door is also “still intact.”
Jewish groups are also volunteering to help victims of the fires. “We are coordinating and assisting relief efforts and call upon all community members to get involved, whether by volunteering or donating,” said Pinchus Feldman, the chief rabbi of Chabad in Sydney. Chabad is offering psychological help and housing assistance.