The Maui wildfires of 2023 were a series of fires that burned parts of the island of Maui. The fires, which began on August 8, struck hardest the historic resort town of Lahaina, on Maui’s western peninsula, reducing most of the town to ash and ruins. Ninety-eight people were killed in Lahaina by the smoke and flames or by drowning (many residents fled into the ocean), making the wildfire one of the world’s deadliest on record. Forty minutes away from Lahaina on the other side of the island, Rabbi Mendel Zirkind, who runs the Maui Kosher Farm with his wife Chani, rushed to do whatever he and Chani could to help local Jews and Jewish tourists who were vacationing on the island.
— Britannica.com, Aish.com
Quotes: “We put them [Jewish fire refugees] in our cottages and cabins and put up tents,” Rabbi Zirkind said. “People slept in their cars on our farm. We fed them dinner. They took showers. The teenage girls at our summer camp here baked bread. Our farm was coming and going with people asking how they could help.” | “The rabbi was able to locate a group of 30 Israelis who had worked at stores in the area. He learned that all their stores, homes, and apartments had burnt down, and gave them food… when they met up. ‘They looked at me like I was a UFO,’ Rabbi Zirkind recalled. “[One] said, ‘We’re trying to communicate with the world, and you show up.’ I asked them, ‘What do you mean? I’m the rabbi. I go wherever I’m needed.’ ”
— Aish.com
Learn more about the devastating 2023 wildfires on Maui from Britannica.com.
Read “This Jewish Couple in Maui Is Providing Relief During the Devastating Wildfires”
Watch “Maui wildfires now deadliest in modern U.S. history” [5:03].
Photo: aish.com
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