Irresponsible Politicians Undermining Trust in Science. Should Democracy Be Protecting Religious from Self-Harm?

POLITICIANS TOLD THEM IT WAS SAFE. THEY BELIEVED AND THEY ARE DYING. 

There is little that can be said about the above video and the following story, except that a community of people is harming itself and putting others at risk, sanctioned by our Federal Government, State Government and Local Government. In Israel, there is little difference.

As between Democracy and the Constitutional right to practice religion and to assemble and public safety, a choice is being made and the public is not being provided a safety net.  What comes first, the safety of individuals or the Constitutional Rights given to them? We posit that safety must always come first. There are arguments to be made on both sides.

But, as between political re-election and public safety there is no question, politicians are putting re-election above all else. This is true of President Trump, the Senators and House Members below him, the Governors of most States, and the local politicians. And, as a result society at large will suffer.

What happens when families with 8, 9, 10 children do not have a living parent? What happens when mothers are left to raise 5,6,7 children on their own? What happens when…

There are too many possibilities to even raise. Ultimately, however, society as a whole suffers for it.

This indefensible denial of science over religion at this juncture is true of religious Jews and ALL other religious practitioners who have chosen G-d over all else, a narrow-minded and misguided zealotry that discounts the value of human life. This is no difference in our opinion between congregational worship and any other form of terrorism with Covid-19 claiming its victims. We believe it should be treated as such.  

Police officers close synagogues and disperse public gatherings in an ultra orthodox Jewish neighborhood in Beit Shemesh, following the government’s decisions, in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus on March 31, 2020. Photo by Yaakov Lederman/Flash90

Emergency Room At Tel Hashomer Hospital Separates Patients From Chareidi Towns With High Rates Of COVID-19

RAMAT GAN (VINnews) — Emergency staff at Ramat Gan’s Tel Hashomer (Sheba) hospital have been directed to isolate patients arriving from Chareidi towns even if they do not exhibit symptoms of coronavirus due to the high rates of infection in these towns. Other hospitals are expected to adopt similar regulations, according to a Haaretz report.

Sheba hospital officials insisted that the isolation is not based on communal association but rather based on the rate of infection in the towns where patients come from. The towns mentioned included Bnei Brak, Elad and Modi’in Illit (Kiryat Sefer).

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Religious Leaders are Silent While Rabbis Lead Their Congregants to Covid-19 Illness – Israel

Israeli police enforcing national lockdown measures made several arrests in the Mea Shearim neighborhood of Jerusalem on Sunday.

PHOTO: ILIA YEFIMOVICH/DPA/ZUMA PRESS

Israel Fights Coronavirus Spread Among Ultra-Orthodox Jews

TEL AVIV—Israel is struggling to contain a concentration of coronavirus infections among ultraorthodox Jews, with the impact reaching Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who went into isolation after an adviser from the community tested positive.

Mr. Netanyahu’s office said on Monday evening that his test for the virus, as well as those of his family and close staff, came out negative, though officials said he would remain in isolation as a precaution in keeping with ministry of health guidelines.

While the ultraorthodox make up about 10% of Israel’s population, ultraorthodox patients account for 50% of those hospitalized with the coronavirus disease, Covid-19, according to an analysis by Israel’s Channel 12. Continue reading

Do Not Give to Chesed Funds Where You Cannot Be Sure the Money is Going to the Needy. Please do not Pay for Prayers.

Do Not Pay for Blessings – Pay for Food, Sustenance and other Necessities of People Ravaged by Covid-19!

Dear Readers:

We are seeing dozens of “Chesed Funds” being set up for prayers – promises that with a specific blessing and some money you and your loves ones will not get sick. We challenge that while there are rabbis with incredible wisdom, at this time, those who pray without money are perhaps the more genuine.

Please donate to funds established to feed people who are in need of food, to provide money and  assurances to mothers who have lost husbands, to fund daycare for children of essential workers.

So many rabbis are giving sermons online about G-d’s wisdom, and understanding, about listening to science, and about managing and coping with Covid-19 and are not asking for money.

They are in their charitable wisdom providing those blessings free of charge. There are better charities to support, like ones that will provide necessary money, food, living expenses and the like to those who need it. Praying for a blessing in the current Covid-19 environment is not charity. It is blindness unless that money will be used to feed someone in need, to house a homeless person or to provide safe passage.

We implore our readers to listen to science and accept spiritual guidance wherever you are most comfortable, but donate where the money will be used for “Rachmunes”.

We implore our readers to volunteer to work in hospitals and other care centers if you want to provide Chesed. We implore our readers to be kind and generous with time and money to those who are now out of work or without a means to future sustenance.

The Hypocrisy – Covid-19 and the Community Response, or lack thereof

This following was sent to LostMessiah by an author who has asked to remain anonymous.

There are a few points that should be made.

First, one of the underlying news articles states that Rabbi Aharon Teitelbaum (Ahrale) of Palm Tree, New York, (a/k/a Kiryas Joel) has been diagnosed with Covid-19.  There is then a correction stating that he was waiting on results. To our understanding he did test positive. But we would be doing a disservice if not to mention conflicting reports.

The next point that should be made is that New York has had a daily +/-50% increase in Covid-19 positive tests for the last 3 days. While that is likely attributed to an increase in testing, as late as Sunday, there were reports of large gatherings in Wesley Hills, New York as well as Brooklyn, New York in what are largely Hasidic neighborhoods. This is unacceptable. From the outside looking in, the utter arrogance of congregating is worthy of contempt. If we are trying to minimize anti-Semitism, this level of lawlessness should not be happening. It is dangerous to those gathering and then to anyone who comes in contact with those gathering. 

The final point, comments to one of the underlying articles suggests that the anti-vaxxer named here, was not actually an anti-vaxxer, that the story had it wrong. We can neither confirm nor deny the comments and the following is based upon information as it was reported.

We stand by the position that if you have not been tested and received a negative result, you are potentially a walking bio-weapon. Any gatherings of people should be treated as acts of bio-terrorism. It is simply how we view this episode in history. 

Hypocrite in Our Times 

Exactly one year ago – there was a two-hour heated debate at the home of the Satmar Rebbe of Kiryas Yoel, on the topic of expelling kids of non- vaxxers from the Mosdos. The Rosh Yeshiva of South Fallsburg Yeshiva,  Elya Ber Wachtfogel came in from the Catskills to attend the meeting. R’ Elya Ber is reportedly an Anti-vaxxer.

The anti-vaxxers brought a physician to argue against the banishing of their children. 

When the Oklahoma physician said the Torah doesn’t allow it, the Rebbe said ‘leave the Torah out’ just stick to medical facts. In the Rebbe’s opinion, Health comes before Torah. 

During the exchange, some anti-vaxxers in the room started screaming that kids die from vaccines. The Rebbe said people died from heart surgery should we not do heart surgery? People died from the needle at the dentist, should we not go to the dentist anymore? The Rebbe said the bottom line is we will not force you to vaccinate but don’t put us in danger. The Anti-vaxxers should open their own schools, shuls, camps & playgrounds. The Grand Rebbe Ahrale of Satmar expelled all children who were not vaccinated, and they went on to open their own schools. 

This last Purim The Grand Rebbe Ahrale of Satmar conducted a full Purim Tisch. Attendees were kissing, hugging, partying and eating Shirayim given directly from the Grand Rebbe’s hand. Until last Thursday, all Satmar shuls, schools and Mikvaot were operating in full force. The Rebbe who is sick with Corona Virus, shared his Corona with many of his disciples. The authorities were begging us to shut down all schools but to no avail.  As of now, many Satmar mikvaot and Shuls are operating under the radar and the Rebbe is not making a pips. No objection whatsoever. 

You be the Judge.

Grand rabbi of Satmar Hasidic dynasty tested for coronavirus

Editor’s Note: Due to inaccurate information provided by Ezra Friedlander, a Hasidic leader, a prior version of this article incorrectly reported that Rabbi Aharon Teitelbaum of the Satmar dynasty had tested positive for the novel coronavirus. After publication, Friedlander said Teitelbaum’s grandson had told him the rabbi had not yet received results of his coronavirus test.

The Grand Rabbi Aharon Teitelbaum, one of the two heads of the Satmar Hasidic dynasty, has been tested for the novel coronavirus, and has been made public appearances for nearly a week.

Teitelbaum, who is based in the Satmar community of Kiryas Joel and represents the largest constituency of Hasidic Jews in the world,, had the test done on Thursday, according to Ezra Friedlander, a Hasidic lobbyist with close ties to the leadership of Hasidic groups. Friedlander, who originally told the Forward he that Teitelbaum had tested positive for the virus, said he had apparently been mistaken and that the community was still awaiting the test results.

Friedlander said that Teitelbaum had not been seen in public since Friday, after one of his gabbais, or close personal attendants, became sick.

Ezra Friedlander@EzraFriedlander

Retraction: Want to apologize to @HQSatmar community & to @jdforward. My quote in @jdforward was not accurate. The blame lies entirely with me & not with the reporter @aefeldman or with @jdforward.
Satmar Rebbe Shlita should enjoy good health & long years!https://forward.com/fast-forward/442011/coronavirus-hasidic-satmar/ 

Aharon Teitelbaum, Grand Rabbi of Satmar Hasidic dynasty, has coronavirus

On Sunday, Teitelbaum came out strongly against mandatory school closings to combat coronavirus.

forward.com

See Ezra Friedlander’s other Tweets

Kiryas Joel, a village in Orange County, N.Y., is a dense, tight knit community of 26,000 Hasidic Jews. Teitelbaum, 72, is one of two recognized leaders of the Satmar group, along with his brother, Rabbi Zalman Teitelbaum, who leads a rabbinic court in Brooklyn.

Aharon Teitelbaum is one of the most influential Hasidic rabbis, with a following in the tens of thousands across the world.

He came out strongly against closing schools in recent days after New York City officials announced that all public schools would be shut down to combat the spread of the virus. He said that the observant Jewish community could not afford to follow such restrictions because their children do not have access to the Internet to keep them occupied.

 

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Posters Blaming Corona on Wigs Made from Non-Jewish Hair – School’s In Session in Ramat Beit Shemesh

Some of the students at a haredi boys school in Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet, just west of Jerusalem, where classes are still being held, March 18, 2020. (Sam Sokol/JTA)
Some of the students at a haredi boys school in Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet, just west of Jerusalem, where classes are still being held, March 18, 2020. (Sam Sokol/JTA)

‘We’re not scared’: Some ultra-Orthodox Jews in Israel are ignoring virus rules

With several leading rabbis reluctant to comply with Health Ministry orders to shut down schools and yeshivas, many students believe they are not at risk from coronavirus pandemic

As I walked away, I noticed posters on the side of the building blaming the coronavirus pandemic on Orthodox women wearing wigs made from non-Jewish hair.

Continue reading

Dear Israel – Why in a Democracy Hit with a Pandemic are Rabbis Allowed to Dictate the Law? Close Yeshivas and Prosecute.

A Palestinian sanitary department worker sprays disinfectant around Aida refugee camp, West Bank, March 16, 2020.

Highlights from Ha’Aretz in Israel – Covid-19 and Potential for Human Killing Machines…

To read the Ha’Aretz Article in its entirety, click here.

LIVE UPDATES:

■ 433 Israelis have so far tested positive for the novel coronavirus, known as COVID-19, with the vast majority of cases mild and 12 recoveries. Six patients are in serious condition. In the West Bank, 44 cases have been diagnosed so far, the majority of them in Bethlehem. Another 3,900 Palestinians have been placed in quarantine.

11:02 P.M. Chief rabbi says hospital synagogues will be closed amid difficulty to maintain social distancing

10:47 P.M. Nine Israeli soldiers contract COVID-19, over 5,000 placed in quarantine

The IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said that nine soldiers have tested positive for the coronavirus, with 5,630 soldiers in mandatory service as well as career soldiers placed in quarantine.

Most of the confirmed patients in the army have returned from vacations abroad, with some of them coming into contact with people who were also diagnosed with the virus. (Yaniv Kubovich)

9:40 Prominent rabbi instructs to continue Torah studies in violation of Health Ministry directives

Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, the spiritual leader of the United Torah Judaism party, ordered the ultra-Orthodox community to continue Torah studies in Haredi educational institutions despite the new Health Ministry directives forbidding it. (Aaron Rabinowitz) 

2:43 P.M. Police investigating quarantine violations, fake news

The police have until now investigated 86 people for quarantine violations and 21 people suspected of spreading fake news. In addition, the police issued 21 closure orders to business that kept operating despite directives, including event venues and gym.

12:34 P.M. Virus can persist in air for hours, study finds

The highly contagious novel coronavirus that has exploded into a global pandemic can remain viable and infectious in droplets in the air for hours and on surfaces up to days, according to a new study that should offer guidance to help people avoid contracting the respiratory illness called COVID-19.

Scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, attempted to mimic the virus deposited from an infected person onto everyday surfaces in a household or hospital setting, such as through coughing or touching objects. (Reuters) Read the full report here

7:40 A.M. Health Ministry announces 90 new cases

427 Israelis have so far tested positive for the novel coronavirus, up 27 percent from the previous tally of 337 cases, as testing for the disease expands.

7:38 A.M. Police make arrests for violating public health orders

The Israel Police arrested tne [sic] suspects who held a wedding with 150 guests in a synagogue in Beit Shemesh, violating the prohibition on gatherings larger than 10. (Josh Breiner)