Helping Raise Spirits After Carmel Blaze

from The Jerusalem Post:

Boston teens tour with Yemin Orde youth village pupils

Pupils at the Yemin Orde youth village watched their homes burn during the forest fire that killed 44 people on Mount Carmel from December 2-5. But some of them have found at least some comfort, and lots of support, by interacting with 20 teenagers from the yearlong Diller Teen Fellows Program in Boston, who are in Israel for three weeks.

The American teens spent time after the disaster with 20 of their counterparts from the Haifa branch of the program, many of whom lived at the boarding school. Next, the Israeli fellows will spend three weeks visiting Boston.

“My house was suddenly burned down and I had a feeling of helplessness,” Eden Yegezau, 16, told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday.

“Yemin Orde was my home and I felt like I didn’t know what to do with myself. However, all of the interest that the American students showed really helped me; it made me realize that people really did care about what happened – they were genuinely interested,” she said.

The American teens and the local Diller fellows travelled around the country engaging in leadership activities, taking part in a weeklong community service program and participating in a three-day Jewish global issues seminar in the South.

“A few of our students from the Haifa program went to the Yemin Orde school that burned down in the Carmel fire,” said Nicole Miller, director of the Diller Teen Initiatives.

“The students spent a full week in the partnership region learning about how Boston responded immediately to the fire, thinking about what the impact was on the local community, living in Israeli homes and understanding what the needs of the local community are,” she said.