MEVO MODI’IM, Israel — Yael Eckstein and Dari Carlebach have something in common.
They are both the daughters of noted rabbis. Carlebach’s late father, Rabbi Shlomo Carlebach, was known as “The Singing Rabbi” for his unique, lyrical style of prayer which became famous throughout the world. His songs drew many to Mevo Modi’im, the idyllic Israeli village he founded west of Jerusalem. Among the frequent visitors to the village were Yael Eckstein and her late father, Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein.
Mevo Modi’im was burned nearly to the ground last Thursday as temperatures in Israel soared to nearly 100 degrees and fire scorched nearly 2,000 acres. Originally assumed to have been caused by faulty electrical wiring, the fire is now being investigated as a possible incident of arson, and 40 of 50 homes in Mevo Modi’im are charred beyond repair.
“We counted Rabbi Schlomo Carlebach as a friend, and we still count his family as friends,” said Yael Eckstein, president of the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews. “I will never forget our visits there, and I will never forget walking through its ruins with Dari on Sunday. Immediately, I felt a responsibility to God to provide emergency help to these families — families which have been a profound blessing to our family at The Fellowship.”
The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews quickly mobilized to raise emergency assistance, immediately setting aside up to $5,000 in assistance for each family of Mevo Modi’im. These funds, along with additional resources, are being distributed in coordination with Israel’s National Emergency Authority, Israel Fire and Rescue Services, as well as the Hatzalah emergency response organization, to ensure that assistance is provided as quickly as possible to those who need it the most.
“Every Sabbath eve, the men of the [village] would come to our house,” Rabbi Carlebach’s daughter Dari said while standing in her father’s old home with, Eckstein by her side. “My father had a perfume, which everyone said was special, that he would spray each one of them with for the Sabbath. On Sabbath morning, the guys would be in the kitchen eating and drinking coffee, sharing words of Torah. Even at three in the morning, people would stop by the home to consult and speak with my father.”
Unsurprisingly, the village’s residents followed in Rabbi Carlebach’s footsteps. “There’s none like the people of Mevo Modi’im,” Dari continued. “They do not have a lot of money, but their houses are open to guests all the time. Now they need a lot of help. Many are left with nothing but the clothes on their bodies. Their money has been burnt along with all their property.”
Nevertheless, Dari remains determined that Mevo Modi’im will overcome the destruction. “The nation of Israel is very strong,” she says.
“Israel is stronger because of her friends, Jewish and Christian, who will never let a single Jewish family suffer,” said Yael Eckstein. “We are calling upon friends inside Israel and outside to step up and meet the needs of these dear people.”