As the sun rose last Thursday morning in Beit Shemesh, a dozen terrified families stood outside their building on Chazon Ish street, surrounded by emergency responders. Those who were suffering from shock, however, were the fortunate of the group. Men, women, and children were evacuated on stretchers to the Hadassah Ein Kerem hospital due to burns and smoke inhalation.
Just after 5am, a fire erupted in the home of the Yosef family. The blaze initially trapped the parents and 7 children inside of their home. Firefighters were miraculously able to save them after removing the bars of their window. The entire family was hospitalized. While most have been released, two of the Yosef children, ages 7 & 9, are still in the intensive care unit in serious condition.
Everything the family owned was destroyed.
The family was reportedly known within their community as exceptional baalei chesed. Parents Shalom and Yiscah were known to take in challenging children (whether challenged mentally, physically or otherwise) so as to give their parents a break. It has been speculated that one of the children they had taken in may have mistakenly started the fire.
“We truly cannot believe that this is happening,” says moving emergency fund text. “We are so grateful to be alive, but we are not out of this nightmare yet. Not until we have all of my babies home safe with me. And not until we have a home to live in.”
With most of the children now home from the hospital, and two being monitored on respirators, the Yosef family reportedly do not have clothing to wear, or the means with which to wash it. A fund has been opened in hopes of helping them to purchase basics such as toiletries, clothing, appliances, furniture, school supplies, shoes, and other essentials.
Before the tragic fire, the Yosef family were known to give a helping hand to those in need. Whether or not strangers will extend the same chesed to them remains to be seen.