Imagine a lifetime of work being wiped out in a few minutes. That’s what Yoram Raanan experienced this past Friday morning. At two in the morning Raanan was sleeping in his studio next to his home in Moshav Beit Meir when his wife Meira woke him up shouting that they need to evacuate. At first Yoram was casual about it until he saw sparks flying in the air. That’s when he knew that his studio which is full of flammable materials, paints and thinners was a dangerous place to be. He grabbed his wallet and keys and jumped into the car with his wife. They tried getting out of the Moshav. However, everyone was trying to leave at the same time through only one exit. That one exit was surrounded by fire on both sides so initially nobody could get out. Raanan said, “We were lucky to get out. There's nothing left.” Meira said that “this was a really big loss for the art world in general, and for Jewish art in particular.” Over 2,000 paintings were destroyed including 150 of them based on the weekly Torah portions that were earmarked for a special project.
Raanan pledged to be strong and start over. “The fire was on Friday then Shabbat arrived. I’m just now on Sunday beginning to digest what a great loss this is! It is strange that this happened exactly 40 years after I made aliya. I just have to start over again and keep on moving forward.”