As wildfires rage across the Hawaiian island of Maui, Rabbi Mendy and Mushka Krasnjansky of Chabad-Lubavitch are fielding calls for help from across the island, even as the Chabad House on the island, as well as the Krasnjanskys’ own home, are under evacuation orders. A nearby wildfire threatens to engulf their neighborhood.
“We’re keeping in touch with people, trying to locate people and see if anyone needs help,” Krasnjansky told Lubavitch.com. “We’ve been getting a lot of calls from people stranded there. Phone lines are down, so people can’t reach friends or family.”
Meanwhile, on the Big Island, Rabbi Levi Gerlitzky got a call from a group of kosher-observing Jewish tourists. On a day trip as the wildfires spread, they found themselves cut off from their hotel and their stock of kosher food, along with their tefillin, as quick-spreading fires prompted snap evacuation orders and blocked roads leading to some parts of the island.
“They’re coming by Chabad, and we’re going to give them tefillin and kosher food,” Gerlitzky said. “We also offered them a place to stay until they can get back to their hotel.”
While the Krasnjanskys are safe off the island (having traveled recently to attend a family get-together), that hasn’t stopped them from coordinating rescue and aid efforts for visitors as well as staying in touch with locals.
“We’re just checking in with everyone, making sure everyone is okay,” Krasnjansky said, “and as soon as it opens up we’ll be going back.”
This is a developing story and will be updated as additional information becomes available.