Due to an extreme cold wave this past January, close to 90 percent of the solar panels and solar-heated water tanks broke down in Katzrin, a region in the Golan Heights close to Mount Hermon and the Syrian border.
Those who could afford to make repairs did so; however, many needy families, including Holocaust survivors, were unable to pay for replacement or repairs to the solar panels and water tanks. Without this solar-powered heating source, which is common throughout Israel, many individuals were forced to go without heat or hot water for almost a month.
The Katzrin Local Council put together a database of professionals who would repair the damage at a cost of $850 per family. Still this amount remained prohibitive for approximately 50 households in Katzrin, most of them needy elderly and Holocaust survivors.
The Fellowship agreed to provide a grant to cover the costs for these 50 families. In February, Yael Eckstein went to Katzrin and visited the homes of three Holocaust survivors who had been living without any hot water since the first week of January. She let them know that they were not alone and that The Fellowship's donors would provide the aid that would ensure they wouldn't have to live under those intolerable conditions.
Mayor Dimi Apartsev greeted Yael before one of the home visits. He let her know how extraordinary he considers The Fellowship’s mission to protect Israel's neediest residents.
Anatoly and Galina: Grateful for the Timely Help
Anatoly and Galina, both 86, are Holocaust survivors from Ukraine. They have no children, and they live alone on the top floor of an old building in Katzrin. Anatoly is deaf and Galina is confined to a wheelchair, which makes it nearly impossible for her to leave the apartment.
When the freezing temperatures in January caused the hot water heater in their apartment to break, they were only able to take showers or baths once a week when they were able to connect to a neighbor's heater.
When she was told that The Fellowship would fix their hot water heater, Galina’s face broke into a huge smile. "Thank you for the help. It came exactly on time!” she exclaimed.