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Jews Flee Northern California Wildfires As Synagogues Scramble Over Sukkot

(JTA) (J. The Jewish News of Northern California via JTA) — The wildfires ripping through northern California have forced several Jewish families to flee — and some of their homes have been destroyed.

Rabbi Mendel Wolvovsky of Chabad of Sonoma has been fielding calls from members of his community and with his wife, Altie, has been visiting those affected.

“There are people in our community who have lost their homes, who have lost everything they have,” he told J.

Congregation Beth Ami in Santa Rosa is canceling its Sukkot celebration planned for Wednesday evening, and instead will hold a healing service at 6 p.m. in the synagogue. Four member families have lost their homes in the fires.

The B’nai Israel Jewish Center in Petaluma is holding a joint Simchat Torah celebration Thursday at 6:30 p.m. with Congregation Ner Shalom of Cotati. In an email sent to the general community, Rabbi Ted Feldman of B’nai Israel noted that several Ner Shalom families have taken shelter in the B’nai Israel building, not knowing whether their homes are still standing.

“This is a good time to bring our communities together to celebrate Simchat Torah and express our yearnings for healing in these difficult moments,” he wrote.

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