Israeli tech helping fight coronavirus in Congo, ‘deep and painful cuts’ at San Francisco JCC


Against the backdrop of expanding Israel-Africa relations in recent years, Israeli organizations and startups are working to help countries on the African continent fight the coronavirus, according to the JNS news site. Magen David Adom, Israel’s national ambulance service, recently built dedicated software for managing a drive-through coronavirus testing facility in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

MDA’s drive-through centers, which have been operating since the beginning of the spread of Covid-19 in Israel, have tested more than 120,000 Israelis. They have also sparked interest from Congo’s honorary consul in Israel, resulting in a similar center in the central African country, as well as a training program with videos and written procedures that has been passed from MDA to medical professionals who operate the facility in the Congo.

“During the long period in which we operated the many ‘Drive Thru’ sampling facilities, the technology we used proved itself, along with the effective and safe practices that enabled the safety of the suspected infected and the teams,” said MDA chief of information officer Ido Rosenblat. “From the moment they contacted us, we were ready to help at during difficult time to set up the ‘Drive Thru’ sampling facilities in DR Congo, and to share our knowledge.”

In a move reflecting the economic toll of the coronavirus pandemic, the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco has announced “deep and painful cuts,” slashing next year’s fiscal year budget nearly in half and eliminating 150 staff positions, representing more than one-third of its employees, according to J.-The Jewish News of Northern California.

According to a letter to the public released this week, since the JCC closed on March 13 just days ahead of the city’s mandatory shelter-in-place order, it has seen a 98 percent decline in revenue. Next year’s revenue is projected to drop by 45 percent. The highest-paid employees, in senior and executive positions, will take salary cuts of 6 to 40 percent.

CEO Marci Glazer said of the staff, who were told the news on Monday, “Nobody was surprised, but everyone was shocked.”


Israel’s Health Ministry said Wednesday that the country had confirmed almost 300 new coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours, the highest daily rise in nearly two months, amid worries that the country had entered a second major outbreak of the deadly pathogen. According to The Times of Israel the total tally of infections stood at 19,637, an increase of 299 infections since Tuesday morning — the highest figure since April 22.

One person died overnight, bringing the death toll to 303, according to the ministry’s website. No details were immediately published on the identity of the new fatality.

A research team at the Hadassah-University Medical Center in Jerusalem has announced that it has discovered what scientists believe is the cause of Covid-19 patients contracting the disease to become seriously ill or die. The researchers also say they have found a way to treat the cause before it’s too late.

According to the research, many coronavirus patients develop blood clots that block the flow of blood to their kidneys, heart and brain, as well as the lungs — and they have an increased level of the alpha defensin protein in their blood.

The Hadassah team studied more than 700 blood samples from 80 patients who were admitted to the medical center during the first peak of the coronavirus outbreak in Israel. The results show that alpha defensin speeds up blood clot formation, which can cause pulmonary embolism, heart attacks and stroke. In addition, when blood clots form in the alveoli, whose function it is to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide molecules to and from the bloodstream, this can lead to respiratory distress and eventually intubation.


The Jewish Center will present an online lecture by University of Virginia scholar Rabbi Vanessa Ochs on Jewish Rituals Emerging as a Result of COVID-19 on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Walking in the Shadow: Healing Together as a Greater Westchester Jewish Community, a county-wide memorial service that honor all those lost during the pandemic, will take place online on Thursday at 7 p.m.

Eshel will present a premiere of FunOrthodox, a video version of its annual live comedy-and-music benefit, on June 28 at 8 p.m.

YIVO will sponsor “Continuing Evolution: Yiddish Folksong in Classical Music,” a digital musical performance preview, on June 30 at 4 p.m. It will feature new works by composers Martin Bresnick, Marti Epstein, Aaron Kernis, Judith Shatin and Alex Weiser. This concert is a preview of a longer concert YIVO had originally planned to present this June. YIVO will present a full version of this concert in person “when it is safe to do so.” Available on facebook or youtube.

Join The Jewish Week and UJA-Federation of New York for “On the Trail of Kafka’s Literary Afterlife with Benjamin Balint,” Thursday, June 25, 6:00 pm. Balint, winner of the 2020 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature for his book “Kafka’s Last Trial: The Case of a Literary Legacy,” will be in conversation with Sandee Brawarsky, culture editor of The Jewish Week. The event is free but you must register here.