Bat mitzvah girl from Old Bethpage adopts an Israeli firefighter

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Hannah Slavsky’s Pop-Pop, along with other family members, gave her an awareness of the life-saving work firefighters do. As a child she washed fire trucks and checked to make sure vital equipment was in working order.

A natural extension of these experiences translated into her choice of a bat mitzvah project — the adoption of two Israeli firefighters through Jewish National Fund’s Israeli Fire and Rescue Service programs.

Hannah, a middle school student in Plainview, donated $5,000 to the JNF, raising $3,600 for the two “adoptions” and included $1,500 from her bat mitzvah gifts.

Firefighters are some of Israel’s unsung heroes. They’re among the best in the world and considered the number one specialists in responding to acts of terror. They are the first responders to a wide range of emergencies, including bombings and rocket attacks, car accidents, forest fires, and hazardous materials incidents. 

Through JNF’s Adopt an Israeli Firefighter program, a donation of $1,800 will outfit one firefighter with a complete set of protective clothing that meets current fire and Hazmat standards: coat, pants, heavy-duty suspenders, gloves, helmet and boots. The bar or bat mitzvah child receives a framed certificate with a personal letter and photograph from the “adopted” firefighter, and an invitation to visit his or her fire station when traveling in Israel.

Unfortunately, many of Israel’s firefighters are using outdated protective clothing which does not properly shield them from exposure to extreme heat and chemicals.

Hannah traveled to Brooklyn Heights on Sunday to join veteran Israeli firefighter and Hazmat specialist Uri Chobotaro and JNF development officer of Israel operations Ariel Kotler, to mobilize support in that community for their efforts. Kotler spoke of the aged and wheezing fire trucks in use throughout Israel, many dating to the 1970s and 80s, and the lack of protective clothing and gear, explaining why the Fire and Rescue Service is in dire need of donations.

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