Last night, Israel365 and Bridges for Peace partnered to provide the residents of Moshav Mevo Modiim with an evening of shopping at the Azrieli shopping mall in Modiin.
Representatives from the 60 displaced families of Mevo Modiim were transported from their temporary residence in Yad Binyamin to the mall where they were greeted by Rabbi Tuly Weisz of Israel365, Reverend Rebecca Brimmer of Bridges for Peace, staff members from both organizations, and volunteers from surrounding communities including babysitters and performing musicians.
Each family from Mevo Modiim was presented with gift certificates to the shopping mall to use at their discretion, as well as dinner vouchers and free babysitting for the evening.
Nina Sprung-Oberstein, a Moddin resident who helped to organize last night’s event addressed what an event like this means to the families of Mevo Modiim: “Israel365 and Bridges for Peace have given the residents of Moshav Mevo Modiim the opportunity to, on their own, take the money and get what they need and to be independent. They feel the love from all of you. Thank you for giving and thank you for allowing them to get back on track and start rebuilding their lives in Israel.”
In addition, Rabbi Tuly Weisz presented each family with a copy of The Israel Bible to begin rebuilding their personal Jewish libraries and book collections that had been destroyed in the fire. Next Sunday is Shavuot, on which many Jews stay up all night studying the Bible and other Jewish texts. The gift of The Israel Bible will enable the families of Mevo Modiim to maintain their ancient tradition.
Addressing the crowd, Rabbi Tuly Weisz said “The Israel bible demonstrates the trials and tribulations that the People of Israel have in our relationship with the Land of Israel. You, the families of Mevo Modiim, are the latest chapter in the story of our people and you should be blessed with the strength and resources to rebuild your lives.”
Residents spoke amongst themselves, shopped, shared a meal, and enjoyed the music of performing artists Yoni Tokayer, of the popular singing duo ‘Yonina’, and Akiva Gersh.
Chaim, a resident of Mevo Modiin, noted that he was extremely grateful to have received a new Bible as his collection of some 30,000 Jewish books which he inherited from his grandparents had been lost in the fire. “I had books and manuscripts dating back to the sixteenth century. I had original volumes of [many Jews authors] noted Chaim.
Community members were eager to speak about their loss and also to send messages of thanks to the hundreds of Jewish and Christians around the world who have been sending emotional and financial support.
Zelda Burkey’s home was completely destroyed in the fire. She shared her story and thanked those who have been standing by her family and community.
“What happened to our community is an unprecedented event that has never happened before. An entire community has just been burnt down. I can only tell you that there is a multitude of gratitude from the people in our community…We have no idea when we will be able to go home…We are all together. We are standing as a community together and we have each other. And we have you folks who have been amazing and have made it so much easier for us. We feel your love. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.”
Members of the community noted that this evening was a “healing experience” as they were able to enjoy a meal together in the food court of the mall. It was at this same mall some 10 days ago that the Mevo Modiim community seeked refuge as their houses went up in flames. Last night, the residents returned to the mall, and expressed hope for the future, “We wanted to say thank you so so much from the bottoms of our heart. We are so grateful and humbled by all of the support and for the love that we feel. Hopefully we will be in a place to give back and do good like the good that you guys are doing. Thank you so much.”