What Will the Families of Meron Victims Think 110 Years From Now?

When the news started emerging about a tragic event at Mount Meron on Lag BaOmer involving casualties, Catriella Freedman couldn’t help thinking of her great-grandfather. He had also died on Mt. Meron on Lag BaOmer, more than 110 years ago. Rav Yosef Dov Halevi Rosenstein was known for delving into the mysteries of the Zohar and was a favored student of the Boyaner Rebbe. Like many, he made the pilgrimage to Mt. Meron, where the balcony on which he had been dancing collapsed, killing him and ten others. Since then, his grave has become something of a shrine at Meron. Moment spoke with Freedman from her home in Zichron Yaakov, Israel. Tell me a bit about your great-grandfather. Who my great-grandfather was and how I knew of him are two separate things. I just knew he...

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Israel’s Katrina

By Gabriel Weinstein After last week’s forest fire, the Carmel region in Northern Israel’s once emerald forests and fields have become a barren prairie of charred branches, ash heaps and dismembered buildings. The Israeli government estimates it will cost around 2 billion shekels (about $553 million) to repair damage from the fire that claimed 42 lives and destroying almost 50,000 dunams (12,355 acres). The Carmel fire is poised to join Hurricane Katrina in the pantheon of mishandled natural disasters. Although Katrina provided innumerable lessons for governments on how not to mitigate the damage caused by natural disasters, the Israeli government apparently did not pay attention. As the Israeli government forges ahead with the Carmel fire recovery it is repeating the same mistakes that plagued the U.S. government’s Katrina relief effort. The wake of the Carmel fire has thrust a...

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