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Rabbi Reuven Fink, Suffering From Coronavirus, Tells Jewish Community To Persevere

The below letter, which was written by Rabbi Reuven Fink to members of his New Rochelle, New York synagogue one hour after learning that he was infected with the Coronavirus, has been reposted with the permission of Rabbi Fink.

New Rochelle, New York — March 6, 2020
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency …

As so many of us are now contemplating going into a Shabbos of seclusion, I want to share a few thoughts with you.

We all woke up Tuesday morning prepared for our usual schedules of work or school or whatever we usually do. By late afternoon we learned that the state and the county health departments ordered a voluntary quarantine of those who were in a number of venues where the Coronavirus might have been. I said to myself, “but at all of those places we were performing mitzvot. To be davening in shul, attending a funeral, attending bar and bat mitzvah celebrations — all are good deeds, mitzvot!”

And yet, we were about to commence an unpleasant course of action: Isolation and quarantine are words that evoke fear. I must confess I was frightened that we might have an epidemic, a pandemic in our community. Our lay leadership and I met with the health officials and tried to explain that quarantine of almost an entire congregation was an overarching edict. They quickly disavowed us of any such thinking and announced the shutdown of the Shul before we could even announce it to our own members.

We were locked in our homes. What would we do? This Shabbos is Parshat Zachor!

We all know it is incumbent upon Jews to hear Zachor being read from the Torah. Additionally, a young man’s bar mitzvah was scheduled for Shabbos. He had studied his parsha so long and hard. What would be? And then, a young woman’s bat mitzvah was on Sunday. She would be so disappointed! Our friend and member lost her dear father and is sitting shiva. We who are in quarantine are not able to visit her in her time of need.

People’s lives are so disrupted. And certainly our minds never diverted from thinking about and praying for our good friend who lay in the hospital in such serious condition. We thought of his wife and the kids and what they were going through in comparison to what our situation was.

I told myself we would work things out. The people of New Rochelle are resourceful people. 

And we prayed. Everyone was emailing for our friend’s Hebrew name and wanted to know which Tehillim should be recited. People who were not in quarantine were calling to arrange to help people in need, particularly those who were elderly or sick. Neighboring communities volunteered to help. Our neighbors in Scarsdale and White Plains shopped and made deliveries to many. Seasons and Chickies tried to make ordering easy. UJA-Federation offered to send our members food from a canceled dinner. So many good people did so much good. And it continues.

Over the past day or two, other members of our congregation were tested and found to be positive for the Coronavirus. I as well found out an hour ago that I am infected with the virus. I can now reassure you that it is possible, Thank G-d, to get through this virus without a special vaccine. I have the virus and am doing reasonably well. But I must caution all of you who have had personal contact with me to seek counsel from your health practitioner as to how to proceed.

As a Shul we must worry about religion. We tried to address in writing what people could do for the observance of yahrzeit and recitation of kaddish. We worked out a plan to read Zachor on Purim. Daf Yomi was taught online via Zoom. We had two shiurim today given by me and by Rabbi Axelrod about Purim topics.

A crisis can bring out the best in people.
It is bringing out the best in us.

Admittedly, it is hard to comply with the burden the state has placed on us. But as we see, despite all these measures, the amount of people testing positive is increasing. We all have to be careful to comply. 

There are some positive elements that can be found in looking at our predicament. It slows down the pace of our frenetic lives. That can be positive. It can give us more time with our families. Maybe that book that we never got around to reading can be read now. Maybe we always wanted to find time to learn Torah. We now have that opportunity. I can’t remember the last time I davened without a minyan for Shacharis. But my davening this morning was much slower than usual.

This circumstance certainly gives us the opportunity to think. Our attention turns to mortality and our vulnerability. We sometimes find ourselves victims of life’s fragility and tentativeness. This is one of those times. It can help us to reorient our ultimate goals in life. Contemplation is good for the soul.

I can’t help but wonder if perhaps I discovered a fantastic insight into current events in this morning’s Daf Yomi.

The Talmud is in the midst of discussing various seminal events in the life of King David. It tells of an error he made. He decided to conduct a census of his kingdom. He wanted to have an accurate count of Israel’s population. According to the Torah, a census can only take place by counting tokens that represent a person but not by counting the people themselves. The Torah says: Count half-shekels so there “will not be a pestilence when you count them.” King David ignored this rule and counted people. The Navi tells us that a plague commenced as a result. The strange occurrence that guided that plague was that exactly 100 people died per day. The prophets and sages of that era ascertained from heaven that if they would institute a new mitzvah, the plague would end. They legislated a rabbinic mitzvah to recite 100 brachot each day. This is among the seven rabbinic mitzvot, along with lighting candles before Shabbat and the recitation of Hallel. But somehow this particular mitzvah has been lost to us during our bitter history.

Could it be only a coincidence that we learn this portion in the Talmud specifically today during this crisis of a possible pandemic? Perhaps. But perhaps we can take a lesson from it. Maybe we can accept upon ourselves to be more mindful and meticulous in reciting brachot. A bracha, a blessing, is our way of acknowledging the profound awareness that we have of G-d in our lives. A blessing can elevate the most mundane activity into something lofty and holy. It takes seconds but launches us into eternity.

We still have a way to go in handling our communal situation. Together we can persevere and triumph over these challenges. With our ever-abiding faith in G-d who is the healer, we pray that we, as well as our fellow Americans and the peoples of the world will conquer this disease במהרה בימנו אמן.

Wishing all a Shabbat Shalom,
Rabbi Reuven Fink
Temple Young Israel, New Rochelle, New York

Editor’s Note: The global number of Coronavirus cases has passed 100,000, with death tolls over 3,200. In the US, the number of cases has passed 260 with thousands under quarantine as public health labs anxiously await diagnostic kits from the federal government, which will allow for a fuller sense of the scale of the crisis.
As of Friday, New York State had 33 confirmed cases of Coronavirus.

Edited by Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency


Coronavirus Threatens Jewish Communities

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency / Jewish News Agency

New York — March 4, 2020 … Just a few weeks ago Jewish synagogues throughout the United States were implementing security plans to prevent attacks by Neo-Nazis and Jihadists. Today the most lethal threat to Jewish communities transcends anti-semitic graffiti. It overshadows the many missiles and rockets of Iran, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

That threat is something called the Coronavirus.

The coronavirus was recently detected in Wuhan City, Hubei Province, China and is rapidly causing a global outbreak of lethal respiratory disease. On February 11, 2020, the World Health Organization named the disease coronavirus disease 2019 (abbreviated “COVID‑19”).

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in people and many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats. Rarely, animal coronaviruses can infect people and then spread between people such as with MERS-CoVSARS-CoV, and now with this new virus (named SARS-CoV-2).

There are more than 100,000 cases around the world – the overwhelming majority in China – but as deaths are reported in Italy, Iran and the United States, authorities are considering new quarantine zones and travel restrictions.

Coronavirus does not discriminate. Actually it does. If you are a baby or young child, chances of acquiring and dying from this new disease is very low. But if you are over 30, the disease can and will take you down.

As the Coronavirus infests the United States, hitting several states, prompting California to declare a state of emergency, the residents of Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Texas, Utah, Wisconsin and Washington state now have more than 160 cases confirmed and 13 dead. 

One location is particularly troubling. It’s a cozy northern suburb of New York City called New Rochelle.

New Rochelle is a middle upper class town embracing many people of various ethic origins. But one group, the close-knit Orthodox Jewish community is now being targeted by Coronavirus like a heat seeking missile.

Yesterday, Temple Young Israel in New Rochelle was ordered to close it’s doors as a member of that synagogue is now in critical condition with all his family infected. That member works as an attorney in New York City.

The 50-year-old New Rochelle man’s family includes a wife and four children, two of whom are in Israel. One of the children, a daughter, attends SAR Academy in Riverdale. It closed for the day. One son is in college, Yeshiva University, which has also closed. The man’s family is under self-quarantine in their home.

Two other private schools – Westchester Day School in Mamaroneck and Westchester Torah Academy in White Plains – also closed for the day.


In the last few hours it has been disclosed by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo that the man who drove the first infected person to hospital, has also been infected by the virus and his entire family has tested positive.

The New Rochelle lawyer may have spread the virus already to hundreds of people at Shabbat services, a bat mitzvah and a funeral he attended last week at his synagogue, Young Israel of New Rochelle.

Cuomo expects thousands of cases to manifest in the coming weeks.

The second family, also under quarantine at home, sends their children — two sons and one daughter – to Westchester Torah Academy, a co-ed Modern Orthodox Yeshiva in White Plains, New York. The school was one of three Jewish schools in the New York area, including Westchester Day School and SAR Academy, that closed on Tuesday amid concerns of spread from the family of the New Rochelle lawyer. 

Health officials ordered Young Israel of New Rochelle, the family’s synagogue, to suspend activities. The officials mandated a two-week quarantine for anyone who attended a funeral at the synagogue on Feb. 22 or a bat mitzvah on Feb. 23. About 600 people are affected.

“It’s an old-world Jewish community, because everyone is so into everyone’s life,” said Rabbi Jeffrey Sirkman of the Larchmont Temple, a synagogue in a nearby town. “There’s a real sense of mutual support and mutual care. There’s a real sense of connectedness that is an extension of their Judaism.”

Sirkman’s synagogue sent a letter this week urging its 800-family congregation to take immediate precautions, including “rubbing elbows instead of shaking hands, to minimize the transmission of germs.”

“If we hug or hold hands or kiss a little less,” the letter said, “it does not mean we don’t care. On the contrary, with sincerity of heart, it means we truly do!”

Immediate suggestions to Jewish communities:

1. Send out an email to all synagogue members stating that if they feel ill, are coughing or sneezing, to report their symptoms to a doctor, stay home and view services via a Web broadcast.

2. Install liquid disinfectant stations at the entrance of the synagogue, in the bathrooms, in the kitchen, in every classroom. Use Purell professional surface disinfectant spray before and after meetings.

3. The use of masks should only be used for those who are ill – but then again – they should not be attending Temple services.

4. Handshaking must stop. The Israel Ministry of Health is in communication and in line with all of the above emergency CDC / WHO recommendations.

5. Wash your hands as often as possible as the virus can live on some surfaces for a few hours. Do not touch your face as the points of transmission are your nose, mouth and eyes.

6. Stop kissing the Torah and or garments used to touch the Torah. Reflecting upon the verses written in the scroll will suffice.

Today, the Conference of European Rabbis published a list of recommendations — including avoiding kissing mezuzahs, Torah scrolls and other people – to worshippers on how to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

The Jewish world has a choice. Do nothing and say it will not happen here.
Or eventually be ordered by the Town and or state health departments to close their synagogues.

We must take immediate actions to prove to the public that we care about our synagogue members and the general community.

Action on the above does not require a vote by the Temple Board and a meeting next month.

We need to alert all synagogue members and install disinfectant stations before Shabbat services.

As it took some time for many to accept police and uniformed security guards at the entrances of our synagogues with open arms – we must now act without panic – to keep our synagogues safe and secure from a lethal virus which as of last report today has mutated into something much more aggressive.

Yes, we will welcome the stranger. But not one who is sneezing or coughing.

We suggest that everyone checks out a few times a day.

“Namaste” may just save hundreds of lives.

We may want to take the advice of the newly elected Prime Minister of Israel. Netanyahu, at a press conference in Jerusalem after a meeting to review Israel’s fight to stop the spread of coronavirus, said that several measures will be announced to prevent the spread of the disease.

Instead of the normal handshake, Netanyahu suggests his countrymen to opt for “Namaste” to greet each other. “Namaste” is the customary means to greet each other in India with a smile and folded hands.

“Just avoid shaking hands as I do. You can try to implement the Indian system of Namaste or say another word like shalom, but find a way, any way of not shaking hands.”

Some good news!

Israeli scientists have announced that a new vaccine they developed for a deadly virus affecting poultry could be adapted for human use against the coronavirus.

Scientists at the Migal Research Institute in the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shmona said last Thursday that after four years of multi-disciplinary research, they developed a vaccine against IBV (Infectious Bronchitis Virus), an avian coronavirus that affects the respiratory tract, gut, kidney and reproductive systems of domestic fowl. The disease causes “remarkable economic losses to the poultry industry by inducing respiratory and reproductive signs, decreased productive performances and increased mortality,” according to a 2019 veterinary study. The effectiveness of the new vaccine has been proven in pre-clinical veterinary trials.

While working on the avian vaccine, the Israeli scientists said they identified a possible COVID-19 vaccine candidate as a by-product of the IBV vaccine and have made the “required genetic adjustments to adapt the vaccine to COVID-19, the human strain of coronavirus.”

The scientists said they are now working toward safety approvals that will allow for in-vivo testing and – in the near future, possibly three weeks – the production of a vaccine.

AIPAC, ADL, AJC, Conference Of Presidents Slam Bernie Sanders: “He Insults Millions of Jews”

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

New York — February 24, 2020 … Almost every major US Jewish organization has criticized Senator Bernie Sanders for describing both Israel and AIPAC as representing racism and bigotry.

Without mentioning any specifics of racism, Sanders promised as President to withdraw aid from Israel and give it to (terror organization Hamas) Gaza.

Sanders completely ignores the fact that both the government of Israel and AIPAC would recognize a two state solution once Israel is able to secure a true and lasting peace partner.

AIPAC made the following statement in response to Sanders boycotting the March Policy Conference in Washington:

AIPAC’s full statement is below:

Jonathan Greenblatt, ADL CEO said: It’s offensive that Bernie Sanders denigrates the AIPAC policy conference as a platform for bigotry. At a time when we see a surge of real hate across the US, it’s irresponsible to describe AIPAC like this. ADL proudly will be there.

The American Jewish Committee stated: “We flatly reject Senator Sanders’ smears of AIPAC and will attend its Policy Conference in greater numbers than ever before, led by our CEO, David Harris.

William Daroff, CEO of the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations urged all member Jewish organizations to attend:

“AIPAC brings together a bipartisan diversity of all sectors of society from across the political spectrum. Boycotting this important opportunity for dialogue is irresponsible and counterproductive. We advise our member organizations to join us in attending.”

AIPAC Condemns UN Blacklisting Of Jewish Companies; Demands Palestinians Return To Negotiations

By Joel Leyden / Stephen Mayo
Israel News Agency

Washington — February 16, 2020 … The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) strongly condemned the issuing of a blacklist by the United Nations Human Rights Council that could be used for discriminatory action against Israel.

“This blacklist is clearly designed to target American and Israeli companies for boycotts and other punitive action. We urge the administration and Congress to act immediately to protect American companies on this list and to prevent American companies from participating in any U.N.-directed boycott against Israel.”

“This action is the latest in a deplorable history of attacks on Israel by the U.N. and its agencies. Rather than promoting discriminatory boycotts, the United Nations must demand that the Palestinian leadership return to negotiations with Israel to seek peace and reconciliation. “

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday he is “outraged” after the U.N. released a list of more than 100 companies it said were in violation of Palestinian human rights for operating within Israeli settlements in the West Bank or the historical, biblical region referred by Jews as Judea and Samaria.

The database was created largely to name and shame companies contributing to the settlements, which have been deemed illegal by much of the international community.

“Its publication confirms the unrelenting anti-Jewish bias so prevalent at the United Nations,” Pompeo said in a statement. The U.N. list does not impose any penalties on the companies or accuse them of acting illegally.

Pompeo said the list supports a pro-Palestine boycott movement known as BDS —  boycott, divestment and sanction — and called on all U.N. member states to reject the effort.

In no other international dispute — and there are hundreds of global conflicts — does the United Nations target peaceful civilians or institutions.

The 112 companies on the United Nations’ list are run and staffed by people with diverse viewpoints, with many supporting the creation of a Palestinian state.

All of these Jewish companies create thousands of jobs, products and services for Palestinians that foster cooperation. What the UN is now advocating will hurt, not help Palestinians living in Israel.

The Center Against Anti-Semitism stated: “If anyone takes the blacklisting seriously, which includes global tech giant Motorola, they will need to turn off their mobile phones and laptop computers.”

American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is a bipartisan organization of U.S. citizens committed solely to strengthening, protecting and promoting the U.S.-Israel relationship in ways that enhance the security of the United States and Israel.

These Are The Jewish Companies The UN Is Now Boycotting

Is history repeating itself?
1 Afikim Public Transportation Ltd. E Israel
2 Airbnb Inc. E United States
3 American Israeli Gas Corporation Ltd. E, G Israel
4 Amir Marketing and Investments in Agriculture Ltd. G Israel
5 Amos Hadar Properties and Investments Ltd. G Israel
6 Angel Bakeries E, G Israel
7 Archivists Ltd. G Israel
8 Ariel Properties Group E Israel
9 Ashtrom Industries Ltd. G Israel
10 Ashtrom Properties Ltd. G Israel
11 Avgol Industries 1953 Ltd. G Israel
12 Bank Hapoalim B.M. E, F Israel
13 Bank Leumi Le-Israel B.M. E, F Israel
14 Bank of Jerusalem Ltd. E, F Israel
15 Beit Haarchiv Ltd. G Israel
16 Bezeq, the Israel Telecommunication Corp Ltd. E, G Israel
17 B.V. E Netherlands
18 C Mer Industries Ltd. B Israel
19 Café Café Israel Ltd. E, G Israel
20 Caliber 3 D, G Israel
21 Cellcom Israel Ltd. E, G Israel
22 Cherriessa Ltd. G Israel
23 Chish Nofei Israel Ltd. G Israel
24 Citadis Israel Ltd. E, G Israel
25 Comasco Ltd. A Israel
26 Darban Investments Ltd. G Israel
27 Delek Group Ltd. E, G Israel
28 Delta Israel G Israel
29 Dor Alon Energy in Israel 1988 Ltd. E, G Israel
30 Egis Rail E France
31 Egged, Israel Transportation Cooperative Society Ltd. E Israel
32 Energix Renewable Energies Ltd. G Israel
33 EPR Systems Ltd. E, G Israel
34 Extal Ltd. G Israel
35 Expedia Group Inc. E United States
36 Field Produce Ltd. G Israel
37 Field Produce Marketing Ltd. G Israel
38 First International Bank of Israel Ltd. E, F   Israel
39 Galshan Shvakim Ltd. E, D Israel
40 General Mills Israel Ltd. G Israel
41 Hadiklaim Israel Date Growers Cooperative Ltd. G Israel
42 Hot Mobile Ltd. E Israel
43 Hot Telecommunications Systems Ltd. E Israel
44 Industrial Buildings Corporation Ltd. G Israel
45 Israel Discount Bank Ltd. E, F Israel
46 Israel Railways Corporation Ltd. G, H Israel
47 Italek Ltd. E, G Israel
48 JC Bamford Excavators Ltd. A United Kingdom
49 Jerusalem Economy Ltd. G Israel
50 Kavim Public Transportation Ltd. E Israel
51 Lipski Installation and Sanitation Ltd. G Israel
52 Matrix IT Ltd. E, G Israel
53 Mayer Davidov Garages Ltd. E, G Israel
54 Mekorot Water Company Ltd. G Israel
55 Mercantile Discount Bank Ltd. E, F Israel
56 Merkavim Transportation Technologies Ltd. E Israel
57 Mizrahi Tefahot Bank Ltd. E, F Israel
58 Modi’in Ezrachi Group Ltd.   E, D Israel
59 Mordechai Aviv Taasiot Beniyah 1973 Ltd. G Israel
60 Motorola Solutions Israel Ltd. B Israel
61 Municipal Bank Ltd. F Israel
62 Naaman Group Ltd. E, G Israel
63 Nof Yam Security Ltd. E, D   Israel
64 Ofertex Industries 1997 Ltd. G Israel
65 Opodo Ltd. E United Kingdom
66 Bank Otsar Ha-Hayal Ltd.       E, F Israel
67 Partner Communications Company Ltd. E, G Israel
68 Paz Oil Company Ltd. E, G Israel
69 Pelegas Ltd. G Israel
70 Pelephone Communications Ltd. E, G Israel
71 Proffimat S.R. Ltd. G Israel
72 Rami Levy Chain Stores Hashikma Marketing 2006 Ltd. E, G Israel
73 Rami Levy Hashikma Marketing Communication Ltd. E, G Israel
74 Re/Max Israel E Israel
75 Shalgal Food Ltd. G Israel
76 Shapir Engineering and Industry Ltd. E, G Israel
77 Shufersal Ltd. E, G Israel
78 Sonol Israel Ltd. E, G Israel
79 Superbus Ltd. E Israel
80 Supergum Industries 1969 Ltd. G Israel
81 Tahal Group International B.V. E Netherlands
82 TripAdvisor Inc. E United States
83 Twitoplast Ltd. G Israel
84 Unikowsky Maoz Ltd. G Israel
85 YES E Israel
86 Zakai Agricultural Know-how and inputs Ltd. G Israel
87 ZF Development and Construction G Israel
88 ZMH Hammermand Ltd. G Israel
89 Zorganika Ltd. G Israel
90 Zriha Hlavin Industries Ltd. G Israel
Business enterprises involved as parent companies
No. Business Enterprise Category of listed activity State concerned
91 Alon Blue Square Israel Ltd. E, G Israel
92 Alstom S.A. E, G France
93 Altice Europe N.V. E Netherlands
94 Amnon Mesilot Ltd. E Israel
95 Ashtrom Group Ltd. G Israel
96 Booking Holdings Inc. E United States
97 Brand Industries Ltd. G Israel
98 Delta Galil Industries Ltd. G Israel
99 eDreams ODIGEO S.A. E Luxembourg
100 Egis S.A. E France
101 Electra Ltd. E Israel
102 Export Investment Company Ltd. E, F Israel
103 General Mills Inc. G United States
104 Hadar Group G Israel
105 Hamat Group Ltd. G Israel
106 Indorama Ventures P.C.L. G Thailand
107 Kardan N.V. E Netherlands
108 Mayer’s Cars and Trucks Co. Ltd. E Israel
109 Motorola Solutions Inc. B United States
110 Natoon Group E, D Israel
111 Villar International Ltd. G Israel
We will remain silent and allow history to repeat itself
or advertise and support these Jewish companies with every breath we take?

Netanyahu Responds To UN Human Rights Council Decision

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — February 12, 2020 … Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responded to today’s UN Human Rights Council decision:

“Whoever boycotts us will be boycotted.”

“The UN Human Rights Council is a biased body that is devoid of influence. Not for nothing have I already ordered the severing of ties with it. It was also not for nothing that the American administration has taken this step together with us.”

“In recent years, we have promoted laws in most US states, which determine that strong action is to be taken against whoever tries to boycott Israel. Therefore, this body is unimportant.”

“Instead of the organization dealing with human rights, it only tries to disparage Israel. We strongly reject this contemptible effort.”

The US left the UNHRC in June 2018 due to its anti-Israel slant, with then-US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley calling it a “cesspool of political bias.” Israel, which was not a member, cut ties with the body immediately after.

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) published a boycott list of Jewish companies even though the only support it received for doing so was from the Arab League, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, South Africa, Venezuela and Cuba.

The UNHRC has never released a similar blacklist for companies in disputed territories in any other conflict around the world.

Gavy Friedson Selected As Global Ambassador for United Hatzalah Emergency Medical Service

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Jerusalem, Israel — February 12, 2020 … Veteran Israeli medic (Gavriel) Gavy Friedson has been selected as the new Director of International Emergency Management and Global Ambassador for United Hatzalah.

United Hatzalah is a unique Israeli emergency medical organization dedicated to saving lives in Israel and around the world.

Gavy started volunteering as a medic when he was fifteen-years-old. He has responded to over 10,000 emergency calls over the last 16 years since he’s been a medic. He has volunteered for all the emergency rescue organizations in Israel, served in the IDF Nachal Infantry Unit and served in the IDF’s international spokesperson unit.

Originally from Boca Raton Florida, he moved to Israel with his family at the age of 10 and now resides in Washington DC.

United Hatzalah of Israel is the largest independent, non-profit, fully volunteer Emergency Medical Service organization that provides the fastest and free emergency medical first response throughout Israel.

United Hatzalah’s service is available to all people regardless of race, religion, or national origin. United Hatzalah has more than 6,000 volunteers around the country, available around the clock – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. With their unique GPS technology and iconic ambucycles, their average response time is less than 3 minutes across the country and 90 seconds in metropolitan areas.

United Hatzalah‘s mission is to arrive at the scene of medical emergencies as soon as possible and provide the patient with professional and appropriate medical aid until an ambulance arrives, resulting in many more lives saved.

Islamic Jihad Targets Jews In Israel With Over 450 Rockets

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency Staff

Jerusalem, Israel — November 14, 2019 …The Iran backed Islamic Jihad terror organization launched over 450 rockets at southern and central Israel. The Israel Defense Forces confirms that its Iron Dome defense system intercepted 90 percent of them.

Rockets were fired as far north as Tel Aviv, shutting schools and businesses and forcing over one million Israeli children to stay in air raid shelters, as well as causing damages and injuring over 60 Jewish civilians.

Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs On Strike, Closes Diplomatic Missions Abroad

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency

Ministry of Finance violates agreements causing suspension of all services to the public. Entrance to the missions will not be permitted. ​

Jerusalem — October 30, 2019 … Statement from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs:

“Due to the Ministry of Finance decision to violate agreements that were endorsed by the Ministry of Finance Director General and signed on 21 July 2019 and to enforce unilateral procedures on representatives abroad that change practices that have been in effect for decades, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is compelled to close all Israeli diplomatic missions abroad. No services will be provided to the public and entrance to the missions will not be permitted.

Israel’s representatives abroad strive to promote the country’s international standing and strength daily. The Ministry of Finance is impairing essential tools of the State of Israel and has unfortunately left us with no option other than the closing of all diplomatic missions. We hope that the matter will be resolved soon.”

The move, coordinated by the Israel Foreign Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the Histadrut Labor Federation, came after the Treasury reportedly backtracked on previous understandings and said it would force the envoys to pay back thousands of dollars that they had been reimbursed for expenses.

The closure came into effect at 1 a.m on Wednesday morning Israel time.

The closures will harm Israelis traveling abroad and in need of consular assistance for issues like lost passports or medical emergencies.

Beyond salaries and expenses, the ministry itself has struggled with massive budget cuts. Employees have complained that they don’t have enough money to buy ink cartridges and other basic equipment to function.

In September the Foreign Ministry announced that it was being forced to freeze most of its diplomatic activities worldwide due to a lack of funds.

Israel currently maintains 69 embassies, 23 consulates and five special missions, including its representative at the United Nations.

Tree of Life Pittsburgh Jewish Massacre Remembered With Shabbat Attendance, Online Memorial Service

By Joel Leyden
Israel News Agency
/ Jewish News Agency

Pittsburgh — October 26, 2019 … Thousands of Jews are marking the one year anniversary of the Tree of Life Pittsburgh synagogue massacre this weekend.

One year ago, on October 27 at 9:54 am, a heavily armed white supremacist entered the Tree of Life synagogue building in Pittsburgh and began the deadliest anti-Semitic attack in U.S. history.

Armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle and at least three handguns, a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire inside the synagogue Saturday morning, murdering 11 congregants, wounding four police officers and two others.

The American Jewish Committee has sponsored a #ShowUpForShabbat campaign asking all Jews to attend Shabbat services this weekend to honor the victims and dedicate themselves to combating hate and antisemitism.
Please see:

Thousands are expected to participate in Sunday’s remembrance through #PauseWithPittsburgh, a virtual memorial event created by the Jewish Federations of North America.

People who register on the event’s website will receive a text message or email at 5 p.m. EDT Sunday. They will see a two-minute video of the names of the 11 victims, followed by a Jewish prayer of mourning recorded by a cantor in Israel specifically for this commemoration.

There also will be a link to a livestream of the public memorial service in Pittsburgh.

Click here to register

Please read the following OP-ED by Jeffrey Myers, the Rabbi of Tree of Life in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

I Am the Rabbi of Tree of Life Synagogue. Here Is a Simple Thing We All Can Do to Help Stop the Next Christchurch