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 Photo Silvia Golan

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President Rivlin: “With every update on the spread of the virus that we hear from around the world, we also think of you, our family abroad and pray you are staying strong, united, healthy and well.”

President Reuven Rivlin today (Tuesday, 17 March 2020), sent a video message to Jewish communities around the world with his prayers for their health and wellbeing in light of the coronavirus.

President Rivlin’s remarks in full:

“My brothers and sisters, members of the global Jewish community. The whole world is, right now, in a difficult time of fear and confusion because of the corona crisis which has turned all our lives upside down and which has claimed lives. Now is the time when every country is calling out to its citizens to deal with the dangers together.

“But at this difficult time, we here in Israel think of another ‘together’ that we are part of, and look to you, our brothers and sisters of the global Jewish community. Your welfare and ours are inextricably linked. With every update on the spread of the virus that we hear from around the world, we also think of you, our family abroad and pray you are staying strong, united, healthy and well.

“The People of Israel, over the years, has managed to overcome danger and crisis and to survive, sometimes against all odds, thanks to the value we place on community and mutual responsibility which are embedded in our Jewish tradition. These are times when we must use this tradition and the values we were given to take care of ourselves while following the instructions, and to take care of others, particularly the elderly who live amongst us - in our buildings, communities and neighborhoods - those at highest risk not just of getting sick, but of finding themselves isolated and without supplies.


“Our sense of mutual obligation is the fundamental value that has protected us. This is the Jewish spirit, our spirit, and if we maintain it, it will take care of us. My dear ones, at this difficult time, when the special excitement of preparations for the Pesach holiday gives way to fear and anxiety, we, the people that dwells in Zion embrace you and send our prayers for your welfare and your good health.


“He who makes peace in the highest, may he bring peace to us and to all Israel and to all peoples of the world. God bless you and keep you healthy. Be strong and of good courage.”

Youtube   Take care of yourselves - you are members of our family overseas  ( credit President's Office )

https://youtu.be/XCy3zHMB-Ng

 

Photo Silvia Golan

 

 

 

 

 

Instructions for the new daily routines Updated: March 15 2020

Gatherings and events   All gatherings of more than 10 people are not permitted.

Commercial establishments and entertainment venues will be closed as of March 15 2020
Shopping malls (except supermarkets and pharmacies, places that sell food to take away)
Discos, bars, pubs and dining establishments, including hotel dining (except dining establishments that sell take-away food)
Banquet halls
Gyms and swimming pools, water parks, zoo, safaris, petting zoos
Ritual baths (men), and bathhouses
Cinemas, theaters and other cultural institutions
Amusement facilities and amusement parks
Businesses for non-medical treatment of the human body
Exhibition halls and fairgrounds
Public boats
Cable cars
Heritage sites
Prayer and religious ceremonies will be conducted in groups of up to 10 people each, keeping a distance of 2 meters from person to person and no more than 2 groups at a time.
Prohibition of visits to welfare, nursing or healthcare facilities serving as homes for their residents, with the exception of a maximum of one caregiver, preferably a permanent caregiver.
Hospitals and institutions
Visits to hospitals and senior facilities should be avoided.
If a caregiver is needed, one caregiver must suffice.
People with symptoms are not permitted to accompany patients or visit institutions for seniors.
Medical staff responsible for treating patients can only gather for work purposes, and in groups not exceeding 15 people.
Seniors and patients
It is recommended for those aged 60 and over and those with chronic illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, respiratory disease or immunosuppression, to avoid crowds and contact with people who have returned from any destination abroad, or who have symptoms, or people who are suspected of being infected, while maintaining their routine.
Work places
Employers will prepare for remote work from home without any gatherings at all. At this time, they will be able to continue working as long as they keep at least two meters between employees in all places where the employees are.
Travel by car of more than 2 in a car should be avoided.
Absolute ban on the arrival of sick people to the workplace
Educational institutions
The Ministry of Health will discuss with the Council for Higher Education the opening of the semester through remote learning and not classroom learning.
As of March 15 2020, all educational institutions will cease operations, regardless of the number of children. This will also include special education, dormitories, daycares, youth camps, day camps and afternoon care.

Public transport
The Ministry of Health recommends avoiding public transport.

Conferences
There is a total ban on international conferences in Israel.

 

Home Isolation Guidance

Guidance for the person under isolation:

Stay indoors;
Stay in a separate, well-ventilated room with a closed door. Exit the room if necessary, for very short periods only, cover your mouth and nose with a facemask. Several individuals of the same household can be isolated in the same room. If all household members require isolation, there is no restriction within the home;
Wash hands with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based sanitizer before and after food preparation, before eating, and before and after using the toilet.
Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty. It is preferable to use disposable paper for hand drying;
If available, use a separate bathroom;
Keep mouth and nose covered while sneezing or coughing, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue or sleeve. This is to prevent the virus from spreading. Immediately afterwards, wash hands with soap and water or disinfect them with alcohol-based sanitizer;
If breastfeeding, wash hands before touching the infant, wear a face mask or any other cloth while feeding at the breast. If expressing breast milk with a breast pump, wash hands before touching any pump or bottle parts, and if possible, consider having someone who is well feed breast milk to the infant.
If fever or respiratory symptoms develop, or any other medical condition, call the 101 MADA Emergency Services Hotline.

Home Isolation Guidance

Guidance for the person under isolation:

Stay indoors;
Stay in a separate, well-ventilated room with a closed door. Exit the room if necessary, for very short periods only, cover your mouth and nose with a facemask. Several individuals of the same household can be isolated in the same room. If all household members require isolation, there is no restriction within the home;
Wash hands with soap and water or clean them with an alcohol-based sanitizer before and after food preparation, before eating, and before and after using the toilet.
Soap and water should be used if hands are visibly dirty. It is preferable to use disposable paper for hand drying;
If available, use a separate bathroom;
Keep mouth and nose covered while sneezing or coughing, cough or sneeze into a disposable tissue or sleeve. This is to prevent the virus from spreading. Immediately afterwards, wash hands with soap and water or disinfect them with alcohol-based sanitizer;
If breastfeeding, wash hands before touching the infant, wear a face mask or any other cloth while feeding at the breast. If expressing breast milk with a breast pump, wash hands before touching any pump or bottle parts, and if possible, consider having someone who is well feed breast milk to the infant.
If fever or respiratory symptoms develop, or any other medical condition, call the 101 MDA Emergency Services Hotline.

General guidance:

There should be only one person who enters and exits the room of the isolated person, this person should be a healthy person with no other diseases which might further increase their risk;
No home visitors are allowed;
Check that the common areas in the home such as the kitchen and the bathroom are well ventilated;
Upon entering the isolation space, cover your mouth and nose, preferably with a face mask, cloth is also possible. Do not touch face mask while wearing it;
Use disposable products such as gloves when exposed to the isolated person and the home isolation space, including dirty surfaces, clothes or beddings;
Avoid direct contact with body fluids, especially oral secretions, airway secretions, urine and feces of the isolated person;
Wash hands with soap and water or disinfect them with appropriate alcohol-based sanitizer after every contact with the isolated person, the person's belongings, or immediate environment, before eating, and after using the toilet. There is a preference to wash with soap and water over sanitizer if the hands have visible dirt;
Surfaces should be cleaned and disinfected at least once a day, such as handles, light switches, toilets and showers, bedside tables, bed frame and other furniture in the suspected patient room, with standard household disinfectant (soap or alcohol based- at least 70%). If possible, clean with 1000 ml of chlorine solution (eg "bleach" containing sodium chlorite - take 40 ml bleach and dilute in 1 liter of water) until the surfaces / items are dried. Gloves and a gown or apron should be used during the cleaning processes.
Bed linen and laundry must be changed at least twice a week. All laundry of the isolated person must be stored separately in the isolation room until the time of washing. Care should be taken to avoid dirty laundry from coming into contact with other items, including clean laundry. Washing must be done separately, on a washing program of at least 65 ° C with regular laundry soap.
Disposable products such as gloves, tissues, masks and other waste associated with the care of the isolated person must be disposed of in a dedicated bag in the patient's room and sealed tightly before being disposed of in an external garbage can;
Avoid the sharing of common objects that could transmit the virus with the isolated person, such as: toothbrush, cigarettes, dishes and utensils, towels, beddings, etc. You can wash dishes and utensils with water and dish soap; and
It is best do dishes in a dishwasher with a temperature of at least 65 ° C. If no dishwasher is available, dishes can be washed in hot water and dish soap and to ensure they fully dry in the drying rack. The utensils (plates, cups, cutlery and trays) of the people in isolation will be separate from those of other occupants, or they should use disposable utensils.
All other household members must wash hands frequently.
Practice strict hygiene

Who is required to enter home isolation?

1. People who return to Israel from anywhere in the world must be placed under home isolation for 14 days counting from their date of return. This is effective March 09, 2020 or later.

If you had returned to Israel in the last 14 days from anywhere in the world, or if you are under home isolation and have fever 38C (100.4F) or higher, cough, trouble breathing, or other respiratory symptom, immediately enter home isolation, immediately call the 101 MDA Emergency Services Hotline for medical advice, and do not go to an HMO clinic or emergency ward. You must complete 14 day period, even if you were tested negative for COVID-19.

This requirement replaces the home isolation required of travelers from Austria, Italy, Andorra, Germany, Hong Kong, Japan, Egypt, Macau, mainland China, Singapore, San Marino, Spain, France, South Korea, Switzerland or Thailand that was effective until March 9 2020.

If you entered home isolation, you must report to the Ministry of Health.

2. Contact with a confirmed patient

In case of fever 38C (100.4F) or higher, cough, trouble breathing, or other respiratory symptom within 14 days after close contact with a confirmed patient, call the 101 MDA Emergency Services Hotline and do not go to an HMO clinic or emergency ward. If necessary, a paramedic will come to you to take specimens and consider treatment with the advice of a medical doctor.
Close contact is defined as being within approximately 2 meters (6 feet) of a COVID-19 case for more than 15 minutes.
If you entered home isolation, you must report to the Ministry of Health.

3. People with fever and respiratory symptoms

All people with a temperature of 38 Celsius or more and respiratory symptoms (cough or shortness of breath) must stay home for two days after the fever has dropped, even if they did not arrive from abroad, or did not have contact with a confirmed patient.

 

:COVID-19 Outbreak and Home Isolation: Call *5400 (available 08:00-23:00) or HMO Hotlines: Clalit *2700, Maccabi *3555, Meuhedet *3833, Leumit *507

 

https://govextra.gov.il/ministry-of-health/corona/corona-virus-en

 

Israel Ministry of Defense Launches Expedited Procurement of Medical Equipment to Fulfill the Urgent Needs of the Defense Establishment

The Directorate of Production and Procurement in the Israel Ministry of Defense has launched an expedited procurement operation worth approximately NIS 50 million, to equip the IDF with medical equipment.

 

The acquisition is intended to support the defense establishment’s preparedness to cope with the COVID-19 virus and it includes: face masks, protective equipment for medical teams, medical technology and more.

The Directorate of Production and Procurement, through its Logistics Procurement Unit headed by the Deputy Director, initiated the expedited procurement of medical equipment for the IDF and the Ministry of Defense, in accordance with the instructions of Defense Minister, Naftali Bennett. The acquisition is worth approximately NIS 50 million and is the largest logistical procurement initiative since Operation Protective Edge.

 

The directorate has acquired face masks, gloves, personal protective equipment for medical teams, technology such as defibrillators and medical monitors, disinfectant materials and more. The procurement is based on the IDF’s demands in order to support its preparations for various scenarios.

 

Deputy Director General and Head of the Directorate of Production and Procurement in the Israel Ministry of Defense, Avi Dadon: “The Directorate of Production and Procurement is committed to supporting all of the operational needs of the IDF and the defense establishment. We are operating within the procedural framework of expedited procurement for emergency scenarios, in order to supply the IDF with medical equipment in the shortest possible timeframe. We are working to ensure that the majority of the procurement will be carried out in Israeli shekels in order to support the Israeli economy during this period.”

 

 

 

"It is our moral obligation to contribute to coping with the coronavirus pandemic" declares BGU President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz

BEER-SHEVA, Israel, March 12, 2020 – Ben-Gurion University of the Negev President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz launched the BGU Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force on Thursday morning to harness the University's brain power and ingenuity to help cope with the coronavirus pandemic. During a meeting attended by over 50 scientists from departments across the University, Chamovitz declared that the University would set aside resources to bring the most promising projects to fruition.

"It is our moral obligation to contribute to coping with this pandemic," President Chamovitz wrote in the letter urging all BGU researchers to join the task force.

 

During the launch meeting, over a dozen ideas were raised by members of departments from different faculties who then broke off into working groups. Several researchers contributed ideas via video conferencing from self-quarantine. In some cases, ongoing projects were quickly repurposed. In others, new collaborations sprung up around the discussion tables this morning.

As everyday life around the world has been affected, the effects of the coronavirus extend beyond the search for a vaccine. In addition to the University's virologists, BGU scientists and students will address the public health, public policy, engineering, information systems, economic, psychological, technological, tourism and educational challenges.

 

"Since the outbreak of this coronavirus, it has become an international crisis that affects individuals, families, communities and countries around the world," President Chamovitz wrote, "I am turning to you, our researchers, to make the coronavirus crisis and its repercussions your top priority, to be creative and practical in order to achieve significant contributions to the national and international challenges that stand before us."

 

About Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

In Israel’s Negev desert, BGU does the remarkable. Marking 50 years of cutting-edge science, BGU tackles humanity’s greatest challenges in the 21st century.

 

https://in.bgu.ac.il/en/Pages/default.aspx

https://www.facebook.com/BenGurionUniversity

https://www.instagram.com/bengurionuniversity/

https://www.youtube.com/user/BenGurionUniversity

https://twitter.com/bengurionu

Photo Caption: BGU President Prof. Daniel Chamovitz launches the BGU Coronavirus Task Force on Thursday morning on the Marcus Family Campus in Beer-Sheva. (Photo Credit: Dani Machlis/BGU)

 

 

 

 

 

Purim, one of Judaism's more colorful and popular holidays, is celebrated this year between sunset on Monday, 9 March, and sunset on Tuesday, 10 March, in most of Israel – excluding Jerusalem where Purim will be celebrated from sunset on Tuesday, 10 March, until sunset on Wednesday, 11 March (see below). Purim is not a public holiday in Israel, but many offices, shops, and public institutions (including the GPO) will operate on a reduced basis. Schools will be closed, but public transportation will operate as usual, and newspapers will be published.

Background to Purim

Purim commemorates the events described in the Book of Esther. In Esther 3:8, the anti-Semitic Haman, Grand Vizier of the Persian Empire, tells Persian King Ahasuerus that, “There is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among all the peoples... in your kingdom. Their laws are different from those of every people, neither do they keep the king's laws. Therefore, it does the king no profit to suffer them. If it please the king, let it be written that they be destroyed...” Thus, Haman coined one of the most infamous anti-Semitic canards: That the Jews are a clannish and alien people who do not obey the laws of the land. At Haman's contrivance, a decree is then issued for all Jews in the Persian Empire to be massacred. But, as the Book of Esther subsequently relates, Haman’s plot was foiled and, “The Jews had light and gladness, and joy and honor...a feast and a good day.” (8:16-17)

Throughout the centuries, Purim – which celebrates the miraculous salvation of the Jews and the thwarting of Haman’s genocidal plot – has traditionally symbolized the victory of the Jewish people over antisemitic tyranny. As such, Purim is a happy, carnival-like holiday.

The Fast of Esther

The day before Purim (Monday, 9 March this year) is a fast day known as the Fast of Esther, commemorating (inter alia) the fact that Queen Esther – the heroine of the Book of Esther – and the entire Persian Jewish community fasted (4:16) in advance of Queen Esther’s appeal for King Ahasuerus not to implement Haman’s genocidal plot. The fast will extend from before sunrise in the morning until sunset. Special prayers and scriptural readings are inserted into the synagogue service.

When the day before Purim falls on Shabbat, the Fast of Esther is brought forward to the preceding Thursday.

Purim

After sunset on Monday evening, 9 March, festive prayers will take place in synagogues, where the Book of Esther will also be read aloud. It is customary for people, especially children, to come to synagogue dressed in costume. During the reading of the Book of Esther, whenever Haman’s name is mentioned, congregants traditionally make as much noise as possible in order to drown out his name – a reflection of God’s promise (Exodus 17:14) to, “blot out,” the Amalekite nation, of which Haman was a descendant; special Purim noisemakers may be used for this purpose. The Book of Esther will be read again during morning prayers on Tuesday, 10 March. A special Purim prayer is inserted into the daily prayers and the blessing after meals.

On Purim, Jews are enjoined by the Book of Esther (9:22) to send gifts of food to each other, make special contributions to the poor, and have a festive holiday meal in the afternoon. To this end, the day is also marked by collections for various charities, and by people visiting neighbors and friends to deliver baskets of food, prominent among which are small, three-cornered, fruit-filled pastries known as Oznei Haman in Hebrew (Haman’s ears) or Hamantaschen in Yiddish (Haman’s pockets).

At the festive meal, some maintain the custom of becoming so inebriated that they cannot distinguish between, “Blessed is Mordechai,” (Esther’s uncle and the hero of the Book of Esther) and, “Cursed is Haman.”

Shushan Purim

In Jerusalem, Purim is ordinarily celebrated one day later than it is in the rest of the world; accordingly, all Purim-related observances are postponed by one day. This practice originates from the fact that an extra day was prescribed for the Jews of Shushan (the modern Susa, one of the Persian Empire's four capitals) to defend themselves against their enemies. This second day is known as Shushan Purim. As mentioned in the Book of Esther itself (9:16-19), Jews living in walled cities (later defined by rabbinical authorities to mean walled cities at the time that Joshua entered the Land of Israel) celebrate Purim one day later than Jews living in unwalled cities. There are several other such cities in Israel where Shushan Purim is celebrated. In some cities whose status is in doubt, the Book of Esther will actually be read on both days.

In many places in Israel, Purim is marked by special parades; the most famous of these takes place in Tel Aviv. Many kindergartens, schools, synagogues, and towns will also host special Purim parties and carnivals.

Purim in Film

Following are clips from six films (courtesy of the Steven Spielberg Jewish Film Archive) that depict the various ways in which Purim has been celebrated:

Adloyada 1960 – Color scenes of the colorful procession in Tel Aviv 55 years ago.

Faces of Freedom (1960) – New immigrants are absorbed into Israeli society at the beginning of the 1960s. The film begins with a Purim carnival.

Springtime in Palestine (1928) - Comprehensive survey of the developing country in the 1920s. Includes a Bukharian Purim feast and scenes of the 1928 carnival in which Baruch Agadati appears with Tzipporah Tzabari, the first Purim queen of Tel Aviv (from 11:33 min).

Eretz Yisrael: Building Up the Jewish National Home (1934) – The film begins with scenes of the Adloyada in Tel Aviv. It continues with agricultural scenes in Kibbutz Ein Harod, Deganya A and the women’s agricultural school in Nahalal.

Edge of the West (1961) – A color film surveying Jewish life in Morocco in the early 1960s, including Purim celebrations (from 28:35 min.)

Hassidic Music (1994) – From the series “A People and Its Music” which depicts various Jewish music traditions. Includes scenes of Lubavitch Hassidim celebrating Purim (from 23:22 min.) 

 

 

Purim Events in Jerusalem 

Purim Events in Tel Aviv

Hebrew University Purim Experts

 

1. MASKS

Dr. Leore Grosman, Archaeology

052-4680239

Dr. Grosman, author of Face to Face: The Oldest Masks in the World and Neolithic Masks in a Digital World, can speak on the role masks play in religious practice and culture since the beginning of time.

2. COSTUMES

Prof. Israel Yuval, Jews in Middle Ages

054-8820196

The Book of Esther mentions charity for the poor and food baskets to friends, yet Purim is best known for its costumes and merrymaking.  When did these customs develop?  Answer: Not in Persia of 486 BCE but 1,100 years and 2,000 miles later in Christian Europe of the Middle Ages.  Similar to the Carnival/Mardi Gras celebrations that precede Lent, so too does the excess of Purim precede the austere holiday of Passover which follows 30 days later.

3. ANTI- SEMITISM – AN OLD STORY?

Prof. Noah Hacham, Jewish History and Contemporary Jewry

054-3217992

It’s an old story: Jewish communities in the diaspora try hard to fit in and pledge allegiance to the king, only to be accused of separatism and be run afoul by local mobs.

The Book of Esther establishes this pattern of “Judeo-phobic suspicion and hatred”, revealing how Jewish loyalty to local leaders is often the very thing that drives gentiles’ hatred of them.  Further, the Book of Esther portrays how antisemitism often masks peoples’ hatred of the king but that would be too dangerous a path of revenge so they express their discontent against the king’s protected class, the Jews.

 

 Photo Silvia Golan