Rabbi Yaakov Cohen lives in the Old City of Jerusalem with his wife and seven children. On Sunday, he left his apartment in the early hours of the morning to pray at the Western Wall with his two sons as is his daily custom.
While Yaakov and his sons were praying, a fire broke out in the bedroom where his younger children and their mother were sleeping. Thankfully, his twelve-year-old daughter was awake and praying in the next room. She smelled the smoke and quickly woke up her sleeping mother and siblings, saving their lives.
The family escaped the fire without physical injury but underlying their joy and gratitude at being saved, the family finds themselves in dire straits. Their home and belongings were heavily damaged in the fire. With the high holidays in just a few weeks, the Cohens have no clothes other than what they were wearing when they fled in a conflagration. They lack the countless basic necessities for daily existence that are taken for granted.
Josh Wander, an Israel365 News correspondent, lives nearby on the Mount of Olives and described the family’s current situation.
“Rabbi Cohen and his family are known in the community as having devoted their lives to inspiring and educating Jewish youth, helping others, and living a complete Bible and God-centered life,” Wander said. “They were renting an apartment that was too small for them to begin with and neither they nor the landlord had insurance. The apartment was completely gutted and Rabbi Cohen works in Torah education so he has no funds to even begin to replace what was lost.”
“Fortunately, it is summer vacation and a local school was able to put them up in their dormitory until repairs are complete and the apartment made livable. Of course, this is far from ideal for a family with small children and soon enough, the dormitory will be needed for students.”
“These are people who have always given,” Wander noted. “It is difficult for them to be in need and even more difficult to have to ask for help.”