Behind the scenes of worldwide chaos, an ever-rising number of coronavirus patients, quarantines and lockdowns, a lifesaving worldwide charity operation unfolds * From Marrakech, Morocco, Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto reaches out to contacts, friends and supporters around the world to assist Jews in distress * Acquisition and delivery of medicines and respirators, and financial aid to thousands of families * Lifesaving help
The chaos surrounding the coronavirus pandemic leaves no country or home unaffected. Around the world, governments are struggling to cope with a scenario that no one could have foreseen but that’s impacting health systems and economies around the world. Airports have closed; businesses and educational institutions are shut down; and hundreds of millions of citizens in countries across the globe are in lockdown.
The pandemic has likewise impacted Jews worldwide, stealing their health and livelihood. Many Jews, particularly in the USA, England and France, have perished or are in critical condition, while hundreds and thousands of others face financial catastrophe. The crisis, striking around the Passover holiday when expenses soar, is keenly felt in many a home.
In a discussion with Rabbi Yaakov L., medical activist in New York, he tells of a chilling recording of Menachem, a member of the Shomrei Hadas Chevra Kaddisha in Boro Park, a large Jewish center in New York, who asked to relay his recording to anyone possible. Menachem states that there is no need for additional explanation but “Since we’re overloaded with dead, we don’t have enough drivers to transport the bodies to cemeteries. I need volunteers who are willing to take part in this chessed shel emet, ultimate act of lovingkindness, or even for pay. Whoever has a minivan and is willing to transport a body to the cemetery please, please contact me.”
Hatzolah directors divulge that they’ve learned that the situation in hospitals is deteriorating, and that many victims have perished due to unprecedented medical negligence. “For the first time ever, we’ve determined to stop evacuating patients to certain hospitals where we’ve discovered that doctors have ceased treating corona patients in order to avoid contagion, a policy that resulted in numerous deaths.”
Countless desperate appeals have reached Rabbi Yoshiyahu Pinto due to his close contacts with government officials and senior medical practitioners in hospitals worldwide. Grim statistics reveal that many Jews are in serious condition, in need of emergency medical assistance, respirators and medicines. Numbering among coronavirus patients are world-renowned rabbis, activists and dignitaries. Rabbi Pinto is doing everything in his power to deal with every individual appeal, recruiting all his contacts and resources to engage medical teams, purchase and send respirators and medicines to those in need. Many lives have been saved through Rabbi Pinto’s massive and swift emergency operation.
Medical activist Yaakov L. adds that in these days when some of the world’s major intelligence organizations are searching for medicines, protective masks and respirators, Rabbi Pinto exploited his broad-based connections in order to help desperately-ill Jews in the United States, England and Israel, while constantly seeking to deal with incoming requests for help. Several serious requests were even handled on Shabbat, with the rabbi delivering a strict order to do everything possible, even at the cost of desecrating Shabbat, in order to save a Jewish life.
It should be noted that prior to the Passover festival, Rabbi Pinto received thousands of requests for financial assistance. Under his direction, a team of volunteers and activists solicited huge sums in charity which were then distributed in forty stations around the world. These gifts benefited thousands of families during their holiday preparations, enabling them to purchase food and necessary provisions, and celebrate the festival during these difficult times.
The mass charity distribution was divided into two realms: food baskets and vouchers. Lavish packages of food and provisions were delivered directly to the doors of families that were unable to leave their houses, while money and vouchers were distributed to thousands of others. Rabbi Pinto’s charity operation runs every year on a large scale, although following the worldwide economic crisis, efforts were ramped up and the sums distributed in charity to the needy this year vastly exceeded previous years.