RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) — Mexican Jews have launched a 24-hour emergency hotline for callers seeking support in cases of attempted suicide, domestic violence and other emergencies.
The 1118 line launched last week, the Enlace Judio news website reported Monday.
“1118 means ‘One for one, one for life,'” Salomon Cherem, president of the Maguen David community, told Enlace Judio, referring to the idea that the number 18 means “life,” according to the Kaballah.
Under the auspices of the Maguen David and the Kehila Ashkenazi community centers, 1118 integrates other existing initiatives in the Jewish community to fight drug addiction, domestic violence, child abuse, eating disorders, depression and more. A free ambulance and first aid service, Hatzalah, also has been integrated into the hotline.
“There were lots of channels, and the one who is living a problem didn’t know which to look for. That’s how the hotline was born,” Cherem said.
The hotline, which operates seven days a week, has answered dozens of calls. Many of those who called began anonymously, but then decided to reveal their identities, which shows the confidence of users, according to Enlace Judio.
Mexico is home to some 50,000 Jews, making it Latin America’s third largest Jewish population after Argentina and Brazil.