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Turning flames to a great light!

Friday, 3 December, 2010 - 5:05 pm

Dear Friends,

While we are enjoying the peacefulness and beauty of our Chanukah flames, a violent and frightening forest fire is raging in northern Israel. This fire has claimed the lives of 41 young guards-in-training, both men and women, who were on their way to help evacuate a prison.

This tragedy has brought great darkness and sadness to our land this Chanukah. As a native Israeli please allow me to give some perspective. 

According to estimations so far, nearly 7,000 acres of forest have burned.  For BC this may not seem like a lot, but for Israel this is about 5% of its forest land.

But above and beyond all, 41 young lives of Israel were killed in a fire trap while on their way to save the lives of others. These young men and women were from every part of this small country, and the impact of their death is - in percentage -like losing two thousand lives in the US. This is why the country is in mourning.

I will never forget the feeling in the air in Israel during a time of tragedy. Just like a family, at times we may experience divisiveness and argument, and on the surface the sense of family seems to be lost. In a time of tragedy, the reality comes out very clear: we are all in it together; we are one united family!

Unfortunately, in Israel we experience the many differences and rifts between our people which can overshadow our sense of a united entity. In a time of tragedy we reveal our true united essence, we feel the pain of each other as our own.

As we are praying for the recovery of the injured men and women, and for this disaster to end, it may be a good opportunity to make sure that this deep realization doesn't leave us when the flames are gone.

Let's make every effort to turn this tragedy into a lead, in the spirit of Chanukah let's turn these flames into a great light. 

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