When a deadly fire that killed 19 and injured 63 tore through a high-rise apartment building in the Bronx on Sunday, heart-wrenching images and video quickly spread around the world, and concern and offers of help were not long in coming.

New York’s Jewish community responded with typical generosity.

“So many calls have come in from people wanting to know how they can help. We Bronxites are so grateful for the assistance that has poured in from near and far,” says Rabbi Michoel Mishulovin who co-directs Chabad-Lubavitch of the South Bronx with his wife, Chana Mushka. “We are shattered by what has happened, but the love and kindness we’ve seen has been uplifting and heartwarming.”

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Masbia, a food pantry, and Shomrim, a neighborhood watch organization, came from the Borough Park section of Brooklyn, with thousands of dollars of emergency supplies for the injured and those left homeless by the blaze.

And even closer to home, the Jews of the Bronx responded with kindness of their own.

“This is very close to our hearts,” says Chana Mushka Mishulovin. “We know people, Gambian immigrants, whose relatives were in that building and are now in the hospital. This tragedy hit very close to home,” she told Chabad.org.

Many of the victims are Muslim, and Mishulovin reports that they were gratified to receive kosher food, which complies with halal dietary restrictions. He says that for many of them, this was a first face-to-face encounter with a Jewish person.

Officials surmise that the blaze was caused by a malfunctioning space heater. The vast majority of the victims suffered from smoke inhalation. Among the dead were nine children.

“This is going to be one of the worst fires we have witnessed here in modern times in the city of New York,” said newly inducted New York City Mayor Eric Adams.

On Sunday night, Rabbi Mishulovin joined the Brooklyn volunteers to distribute warm soup and encouragement, and on Monday, he and his wife are setting up a campaign to raise funds for the victims and their families.

Together with Rabbi Levi Shemtov of Chabad of Riverdale, who oversees the Chabad presence in the Bronx, they hope to disburse the funds as fast as it comes in.

“People are hurting right now,” says Mishulovin, “and this is our chance to make their load just a little bit lighter, to help them and remind them that they are not alone in their suffering.”

To help in the relief effort, please visit the Chabad of the South Bronx donation page here.

Rabbi Michoel Mishulovin distributes hot food near the site of the fire.
Rabbi Michoel Mishulovin distributes hot food near the site of the fire.