Chabad HQ reopens, Israel braces for second wave, a one-minute breath test for Covid-19


The main Chabad synagogue at 770 Eastern Parkway in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood reopened yesterday to a large crowd, more than three months after it shut its doors amid mounting restrictions meant to stop the spread of the coronavirus, JTA reports. The raucous service was documented in a video posted to Instagram by COLlive, a local Orthodox news site in Crown Heights. No one in the video, which shows dozens of men singing and dancing, appeared to be wearing a mask and most did not appear to maintain social distancing.

The reopening is the latest evidence that some parts of New York City’s Orthodox community have largely returned to normalcy after three months of lockdown, despite the fact that the city only began its second phase of reopening Monday and social distancing and mask wearing are still recommended.

In keeping with New York’s rules for houses of worship, the building reopened last month to a service of 10 men, the number needed to form a prayer quorum, or minyan.

Israel is being told to prepare for as many as 4,000 intubated patients during the second coronavirus wave, at least half of whom may be infected with the disease, the Jerusalem Post reports. The “corona cabinet” ministers also determined to immediately evaluate the list of communities to be declared red or restricted zones, and that the country will focus on continuing to protect at-risk groups, such as senior citizens.

“We are facing a systematic increase in morbidity. We see this not only here, but I regret that we also see it around the world,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said. “All the necessary preventative measures will be taken.”

As of yesterday, there have been a total of 21,008 people infected with coronavirus – an increase of 274 since the night before. The number of patients in serious condition continues to climb, reaching 45, among them 29 who are intubated.

An Israeli-designed one-minute breath test to detect if someone has coronavirus could soon be installed at hundreds of global entry points if it gets approval from the US Food and Drug Administration, the Times of Israel reports. The contraption, which uses frequency to detect the deadly SARS-CoV-2, was designed by a team based at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and has a success rate of more than 90 percent in trials to-date.

Current tests for the new coronavirus use throat or nose swabs and look for particles. The team led by Prof. Gabby Sarusi looked at another form of detection.

Sarusi’s team has been working with Israel’s Defence Ministry to validate the hand-held device, which contains a chip with densely packed sensors to capture tiny particles from the breath, including any viruses. The chip is read through THz spectroscopy, which takes about 20 seconds.

With summer sleepaway camps and many travel programs cancelled this year, the Orthodox Union has created Project Community 2020, an initiative for teens, college students and Yachad members. Launching on July 6, it will offer recreation combined with Jewish learning and volunteer opportunities to bring support to local communities.

The New York program will include versions of Kollel and Michlelet, both based in Long Island’s Five Towns and aimed at providing teens with morning religious programing including prayer and learning. The programs will both also include sports and recreational activities in the morning and two nights of activities each week.

In the afternoons, teens will have a variety of volunteering opportunities, including having teens participate in building a house in Long Beach with Habitat for Humanity. Weekly programs will also operate in Queens and Brooklyn.


UJA-Federation will sponsor a virtual tour of the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty’s food warehouse on Wednesday at12:30 p.m. Met Council’s managing director of food programs, Jessica Chait, will describe how the organization is feeding 60,000 hungry people in need — double the number of clients served before Covid-19.

The Puah fertility support organization will host a webinar for single women about the medical and emotional complexities of fertility preservation on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m. The presenters in the for-women-only program will discuss questions on egg-freezing.

Israeli author Yossi Klein Halevi will discuss the State of World Jewry, Israeli society, and the politics of coronavirus in the Middle East in an online conversation sponsored by the 92nd Street Y on Thursday at 2 p.m.

More than 60 scholars from Israel and North America will address questions about Israeli citizenship, moral responsibilities and spiritual sustenance in a time of darkness and loss in a series of online seminars sponsored by the Shalom Hartman Institute from June 23 to July 23.

The 3GNY and 2G of Greater New York organization of descendants of Holocaust survivors will explore the life and legacy of Dr. Janusz Korczak, a hero of the Holocaust, in a discussion on June 29 at 7 p.m. with author Marcia Talmage-Schneider.

Sefaria, the online resource of classical Jewish texts, will sponsor an online #SefariaReadingChallenge through August 21. The challenge will include social media games and celebrity study suggestions to encourage to encourage Jewish study.

The Friends of the Israel Defense Forces will hold its 2020 National Gala online on September 13 at 7 p.m.

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.