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Israeli tech vs. the virus, yeshiva distributes supplies, Mark Zuckerberg’s $1m donation
Coronavirus 2020

Israeli tech vs. the virus, yeshiva distributes supplies, Mark Zuckerberg’s $1m donation

Daily Coronavirus Update

Harvey Potter, an investment banker and resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, has taken a series of haunting photographs of New York during the Covid-19 crisis. Here, the scene outside of Zabar's on Broadway. For more photos, go to, or follow him on Instagram @hrpotter46 (Harvey Potter)
Harvey Potter, an investment banker and resident of Manhattan’s Upper West Side, has taken a series of haunting photographs of New York during the Covid-19 crisis. Here, the scene outside of Zabar's on Broadway. For more photos, go to, or follow him on Instagram @hrpotter46 (Harvey Potter)

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The first Covid-19 survivor in one Ohio city to donate plasma to a medical study was the son of a Chabad rabbi.

Mendel Mangel, son of Lubavitch emissaries Rabbi Nochum and Devorah Mangel, made the donation to Montgomery County’s Community Blood Center as part of a project that will determine if the blood from past coronavirus patients can be used to treat the disease, the Dayton Jewish Observer reports.

After his initial diagnosis, Mangel was quarantined in his parents’ basement; eventually, the whole family was quarantined.

Rabbi Mangel learned of an opportunity for Mendel to help save lives of patients severely ill from the coronavirus by taking part in the Blood Center study. A Jewish physician associated with the Convalescent Plasma Project told the rabbi of an obstacle facing the plasma project: doctors hadn’t yet located someone who had had the disease and recovered.

“I told him I think I have one in my basement,” Rabbi Mangel said.

Beit Midrash of Great Neck, a Long Island yeshiva, has become a makeshift distribution center that is distributing thousands of masks and bottles of hand sanitizer, for free, to New York City hospitals.

Rabbi Eitan Rubin, who heads the yeshiva, made the altruistic gesture last month after getting a call from Stephen Odzer, a business associate in Nevada who distributes janitorial supplies and other products. Odzer wanted to know if the rabbi could find investors to help buy more masks and hand sanitizer, which had become increasingly difficult to find.

The rabbi said he would be glad to help out on the business side, but he told Odzer — a Brooklyn native whose son studies at the rabbi’s yeshiva — that he also wanted to perform a good deed in the process.

“My feeling was that if we’re not going to help the people who are helping us, that’s just very callous,” Rabbi Rubin told Jewish Insider.

Odzer agreed to an initial charitable donation of $100,000 worth of goods.

Since the call, the rabbi has delivered 35,000 N95 respirator masks and 4,000 hand sanitizer dispensers to hospitals, including Mount Sinai, Maimonides and Long Island Jewish Medical Center. Another order of 50,000 masks and 8,000 dispensers is expected soon.

Rabbi Rubin has set up a GoFundMe page.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg and wife Priscilla Chan have donated $1 million from their foundation to help the Hawaiian island of Kauai deal with the coronavirus crisis. The couple own a 700-acre estate on the island purchased for $200 million in 2014.


The country’s death toll from Covid-19 climbed to 117 on Tuesday, and a total of 11,868 people cases of the disease have been confirmed.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced that the government would reimpose strict lockdown measures at the end of Passover, from Tuesday afternoon until Thursday morning, the Jerusalem Post reports. The clampdown on movement reflects fears that family gatherings during the festival and Mimouna celebrations could aggravate the coronavirus outbreak, as previously occurred during the Purim holiday.

A group of Israeli researchers and experts from a variety of companies, governmental, organizations and non-profits have partnered to create a low-cost ventilator whose blueprints, design and codes are completely opensource, with the potential to save millions of lives, the Jerusalem Post reports.

Project coordinator Dr. Eitan Eliram said more than 30,000 people from all over the world expressed interest in the ventilator in the first four days after the material was made available online.

Israel’s Galilee Medical Center is piloting a virus-neutralizing sticker that attaches to surgical masks to better protect medical staff during the coronavirus crisis, the hospital has announced. The 3D-printed “Maya” sticker was developed at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology by a mechanical engineering team led by Prof. Eyal Zussman.

The sticker contains nanofibers that capture nanoparticles, and disinfectants believed capable of killing any viruses in those nanoparticles. Israel’s Ministry of Health has given initial approval for the 723-bed government-owned hospital to trial the unique sticker.

Mentored by engineers from the Technion, a high school robotics team in Haifa has produced a robot to deliver equipment, medicine and food and help protect hospital medical staff from Covid-19, according to the United With Israel organization. The innovative robot will help medical workers keep their distance from coronavirus-infected patients.

Dubbed the “COROBOT,” the remote-control service trolley allows medicine and food to be delivered to patients without another person present, driving right up to the patient’s bed and complete with a computer tablet to allow two-way communication.

With supplies for coronavirus testing in short supply in Israel, Hebrew University researchers say they have come up with a largely homemade solution that will reduce dependence on international markets, the Times of Israel reports. Naomi Habib, professor at the school’s Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Brain Science, said her technique, which uses small magnets, could prove a significant help in solving Israel’s testing bottleneck and would reduce the number of required reagents.

With the Israeli health system under massive pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic, some 2,000 medical students are volunteering to help in the relief efforts, working long hours without pay and risking infection themselves, According to the N12 Israeli news site. N12 quoted one of the students as saying, “We didn’t think about money or the fact that we were the first to be exposed to patients, there was a sense of mission.” Donations to compensate the volunteers can be sent to


Martin Fox, an attorney who in the late 1970s served as president of the Jewish Federation of Greater MetroWest NJ (then known as the Jewish Community Federation of Metropolitan New Jersey) and as president of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, died of Covid-19 on April 8. He was 95.

During a long and storied career, the Newark native was active in Jewish organizations and in the wider New Jersey community, serving on the boards of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, the Jewish News of Metropolitan New Jersey, the New Jersey State Board of Education and the Northern Energy Corporation. New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy called him a “passionate crusader for social justice,” citing his work on behalf of the St. Augustine civil rights movement in 1963.

Fox also served as vice chairman of the Essex County chapter of Americans for Democratic Action and twice ran unsuccessfully for a congressional seat in New Jersey’s 12th district in the early 1950s.

Irving Carter, a prominent British philanthropist who served as vice president of England’s fundraising of the Israeli Magen Dovid Adom emergency ambulance service, died of coronavirus on April 3. He was 76.

His donations over three decades funded the purchase of dozens of ambulances, 12 bikes, two mobile blood banks and a mobile intensive care unit for MDA. Ambulances serving Jerusalem’s Old City bear his name and that of his widow, Gillian. A recently opened MDA station near Haifa is dedicated to his grandson, Jack Segal.

Stanley Chera, a real estate developer whose illness helped convince his friend Donald Trump of the seriousness of the coronavirus pandemic, died April 11. He was 78.

In a White House briefing last month, Trump described how he had come to appreciate the dangers of the virus after hearing how his friend – “a little older, a little heavier than he’d like to be” — had ended up in the hospital and later in a coma. That friend was Chera.

Chera, a longtime leader in New York’s tight-knit Syrian Jewish community, was an early and generous backer of Trump’s presidential campaign, contributing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Chera got into real estate when he bought the building housing the retail outlet his father had founded in Brooklyn in the 1940s. He acquired more buildings, becoming a major presence in New York real estate. He was an investor in the troubled acquisition in 2008 of 666 Fifth Avenue by Trump’s soon-to-be son-in-law, Jared Kushner. He was a major supporter of the American Friends of Rabin Medical Center, and a co-founder of the Sephardic Community Center in Brooklyn. In addition to his Jewish philanthropy, CNN reported, Chera funded soup kitchens and assistance for children with special needs.


Social worker Jodi Baretz, author of “Mindful is the New Skinny,” will take part in a livestreamed book talk about stress reduction on Tuesday at 11 a.m. The event is sponsored by the JCC of Mid-Westchester. To join the Zoom seminar: dial 708 454 238, password 735663.

The Hadar faculty is offering an opportunity to study sections of Pirkei Avot and count the Omer daily at 8:45 p.m. on Zoom or Facebook live.

The Israel Policy Forum will sponsor a livestreamed briefing by Israeli Army Col. (ret.) Shaul Arieli on Tuesday at 2 p.m. on “How Viable is Peace to Prosperity?” He will discuss the Trump Plan’s feasibility, its implications, and why Israeli leaders still seem intent on implementing the plan’s annexation provisions despite the pandemic.

The American Jewish Committee will sponsor a series Advocacy Anywhere online conversationsthis week. The schedule:

Tuesday at noon – “The Post-Corbyn Labour Party: A New Era?” Lord John Mann, independent adviser to the UK government on anti-Semitism, will discuss efforts to combat the rise of antisemitism in England, and whether or not British Jews can regain trust in the Labour Party under its newly-elected leader, Keir Starmer.

Tuesday at 4 p.m. – “Celebrity Passover Storytime,” featuring actor Joshua Malina.

April 17 at noon – “The Future of U.S.-China Relations in a Post-COVID-19 World,” featuring Bonnie Glaser, director of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) China Power Project; Malcolm Riddell, founder and CEO of CHINADebate and former investment banker; and Susan Shirk, former U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State.

The Hampton Synagogue will televise a pre-recorded Passover Yizkor memorial service, led by Rabbi Marc Schneier, on the Jewish Broadcasting Service, on Thursday at 9 a.m. and noon.

JBS can be found on channel 388 on DirecTV, 798 on FIOS, 138 on Optimum, 269 on RCN, 219 on Spectrum, on Roku and the JBS website

The Stand With Us Israel advocacy group will host a livestreamed event, “How Israelis & Palestinians Are Working Together to Beat the Coronavirus: An Insider’s Geopolitical Briefing,” with Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus, the Israeli Army’s International Spokesperson, on Thursday, April 23 at 2 p.m.

The Temple Emanuel Streicker Center will commemorate Yom HaShoah via livestreaming on Monday, April 20. The program will include a panel discussion about the PBS drama, “The Soap Myth,” and include Ed Asner and Tovah Feldshuh, stars of the PBS production; playwright Jeff Cohen, historian Michael Berenbaum, and Ira Forman, the Obama administration’s Special Envoy for Combatting Anti-Semitism. Registration is required.

YIVO has announced a new initiative to collect first-hand accounts of the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Jewish life. The collecting began via an online form accessible at

UJA-Federation of New York has compiled a guide to help the Jewish community find advice, resources and volunteer opportunities for learning during the virus outbreak. UJA and the Jewish Board also have listings of volunteer opportunities.

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