Jul 28, 2006 — With the current barrage of Hezbollah rockets falling in northern Israel, Yeshiva University’s Israel campus in Jerusalem has opened its doors to people living in the north seeking refuge. The YU Israel (YUI) apartments, dormitories, and facilities are being offered to alumni and their families as well as others, including groups of students and children who are in need of relocation at this critical time. The majority of those seeking temporary relocation come from Safed and Haifa.
Concerned staff members began contacting YU alumni in the north as soon as the crisis broke out, spreading the word about housing availability at YUI in Jerusalem. Every day more people arrive on campus as the conflict in the north continues. The YUI campus is absorbing as many people as possible.
The Levy family, from Safed, contacted the YUI office right after a rocket fell about 160 feet from their apartment building. Chaim Levy expressed gratitude at being able to escape the danger. “We have two small children and were living in fear and staying in a crowded, hot bomb shelter,” he said. “We’re so grateful to YUI for housing us.”
Others who are taking advantage of YUI’s hospitality learned about it through YU students living and studying at the Jerusalem campus this summer. Vicky Lukacs, a student from Montreal, Canada, heard about the offer from a friend participating in the YU Yavneh Olami Summer Internship Program. Ms. Lukacs is volunteering for Magen David Adom (MDA) in Tiberias. She was in Jerusalem for Shabbat when Tiberias was hit by Hezbollah rocket attacks. Unable to return to Tiberias, Ms. Lukacs found herself stranded in Jerusalem and quickly contacted YUI. She is now staying on campus and volunteering at the MDA Jerusalem branch.
“Everyone here at YUI has been so helpful and eager to help,” Ms. Lukacs said. “This is a scary situation. We’re in a war and no one can predict what will happen, but on the YUI campus I feel safe.”
During mid to late summer months preparations for the upcoming academic year are made, including repairs to the apartments and dormitories. In spite of this, YUI will continue to offer housing for northern residents for as long necessary.
“Even though it will put pressure on us to get housing ready for the fall, we decided unanimously that since we now have vacant facilities, we want to offer them to northern residents,” said Scott Apfelbaum, director of YU Israel Operations. “ We want to help out in any way we can.”