Northern Israel is still in the throes of the worst forest fire in our history. 41 people are dead, most of them prison service trainees heading in to evacuate a nearby prison who were burned to death when their bus was trapped by the fast moving fire. Over 12,000 acres of forests - 5.5 million trees - and several villages have burned and it isn't over yet. It is December already and yet the winter rains haven't yet arrived, unseasonably hot temperatures, hot dry winds, and no rain since last spring has turned the entire region into a giant tinderbox, and this is the tragic result.
The only bright spot, if you have to find one, is the way the international community has answered our desperate call for help, sending firefighting aircraft, fire retardants, and hundreds of firefighters of their own to stand hand in hand with ours to together beat this monster back.
Israelis, and I suspect most others, have always been better at banding together and supporting each other in a crisis than they are at actually getting along each day. If only we could all remember that feeling of love and trust in our fellow man and carry it forward long after the flames have been extinguished - that would be a legacy fit for those who paid the ultimate price and laid down their lives trying to save others.
Normally on the fourth night of Hannukah I would be busy photographing burning menorahs as the Hannukah lights twinkled on my table.
Somehow this year I just don't feel like it.