Israel back on lockdown, top health official quits, Ramah camp launches GoFundMe drive


The director of public health in Israel’s Health Ministry announced her resignation today, criticizing the authorities’ handling of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and describing a chaotic and ineffective approach to tackling the crisis.

Siegal Sadetzki’s resignation came as infection rates have soared to some 1,000 a day, with critics accusing the government of a belated response to the sharp uptick in cases and lacing into the Health Ministry’s failure to carry out effective contact tracing and epidemiological probes to contain the outbreak.

“Israel is heading to a dangerous place,” Sadetzki wrote on Facebook. “To my regret, for a number of weeks now, the handling of the outbreak has lost direction. Despite systematic and regular warnings in the various systems, and discussions in various forums, we watch with frustration as the hourglass of opportunities runs low. Against this backdrop, I have come to the conclusion that in the newly created conditions under which my professional opinion is not accepted — I can no longer help to effectively cope with the spread of the virus.”

JTA analyzes what went wrong in Israel: With a second wave of infections surging across the country, the country may be becoming an example of what happens when a society relaxes its guard too early.

After recording more than 1,000 cases in 24 hours, Israel reimposed steep restrictions on its population on Monday, just a little over a month after fully lifting a nationwide lockdown that saw much of the population stuck at home.

What happened? Israeli lawmakers and public health experts alike say the country moved too quickly to get back to normal, and while Israelis were heading, unmasked, to beaches and restaurants, the virus stealthily spread among them.

Compounding matters, schools reopened rapidly — and, to some, chaotically — in May. The virus quickly spread through the education system, with tens of thousands of students forced into quarantine and outbreaks in some high schools.

Rabbi David Lau, Israel’s chief Ashkenazic rabbi, has ruled that people who test positive for the coronavirus or feel symptoms of the virus should not fast on Thursday, which marks the 17th of Tammuz, a Jewish fast day that lasts from sunrise to sunset, the Jerusalem Post reports.

The fast begins a three-week period of semi-mourning that ends on the ninth day of Av, which commemorates the destruction of the Holy Temples in ancient Jerusalem. Jewish law is often lenient about fasting when one’s health may be at stake.

Amid fears of a second wave of the coronavirus pandemic in Israel, Magen David Adom, Israel’s national emergency medical service, has announced a recent four-fold increase in the number of calls from Israelis with suspected symptoms or questions about the disease. The service received more than 26,000 calls on Sunday, as compared to a “normal” day of about 6,000.

More than 82,000 calls were handled by MDA one day in mid-March, at the height of the Covid crisis. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Israel has had just over 30,000 cases and 332 deaths.

Camp Ramah in the Berkshires, which canceled its 2020 season because of the coronavirus crisis, is turning to its camping community for financial help. The camp’s leadership, which had decided to offer parents a full refund of 2020 tuition — tuition makes up 80 percent of the camp’s annual revenue – and made additional budget cuts, has launched a GoFundMe Charity campaign.

The goal of the campaign is $100,000, which the camp hopes to raise among camp families, alumni, parents and grandparents of alumni, and friends.

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Shuls should retain online presence after reopening, United Synagogue says.” Great Britain’s association of Modern Orthodox synagogues offers detailed guidance for reopening during the latest phase of the pandemic.


The Israel Policy Forum will offer online After July 1: An Annexation Update on Tuesday at 2 p.m. Participants will be Israeli political experts Dr. Shira Efron and Dr. Nimrod Novik.

Kulanu will sponsor an online lecture on The History of the Black Jews/Israelites in the US and Africa by Rabbi Capers C. Funnye, spiritual leader of Beth Shalom B’nai Zaken Ethiopian Hebrew Congregation in Chicago, on Wednesday at 1 p.m. will sponsor an online workshop on “Make your marriage great by working on it” on Wednesday at noon.

Rabbi Simon Jacobson of the Meaningful Life Center will discuss What Will the New Normal Look Like? Reclaiming Yourself in an online lecture on Wednesday at 8:30 p.m.

The America-Israel Friendship League and Jewish Women International will sponsor a panel discussion on Wednesday at noon with “three remarkable businesswomen who run social impact enterprises.” Participants will be Tal Zur of iota, Kerry Brodie of Emma’s Torch, and Anya Cole of Hania New York.

The Jewish Council on Public Affairs will hold a webinar on Police Reform, Defunding the Police: Transforming the Public Safety System in America on Thursday at 1 p.m. Participants will include Sue Rahr, executive director of the Washington State Criminal Justice Training Commission; Reverend Jeffrey Brown, president of RECAP (Rebuilding Every Community Around Peace); and Adam Gelb, CEO of the Council on Criminal Justice Reform.

Park Avenue Synagogue and the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism will sponsor a webinar program about the Life and Times of Baseball Great Hank Greenberg on Thursday at 7 p.m.

The Hampton Synagogue has launched a drive-in movie series on Sundays this summer at 8:30 p.m. for its annual Jewish Film Festival. The series will take place at Francis Gabreski Airport in Westhampton Beach.

Join Jewish Week editor-in-chief Andrew Silow-Carroll and Jodi Rudoren, editor-in-chief of The Forward, for an exit interview with Amb. Dani DayanIsrael’s departing Consul General in the New York area, on Wednesday, July 8 @ 12 p.m. ET. The three will discuss American Jewry and its relationship with the Jewish state, and how Dayan’s experience changed his understanding of U.S. politics — and Israel’s. Register here.

And we hope you’ll join Jewish Week cultural editor Sandee Brawarsky on July 9 at 6 p.m. for the next event in The Jewish Week Folio series, presented with UJA-Federation of NY, featuring a virtual conversation with Sanford D. Greenberg, author of the new book “Hello Darkness, My Old Friend.” This is the remarkable story of a Columbia U. undergrad from a poor Jewish family who, after losing his eyesight to disease during his junior year, finds the power to break through the darkness and fulfill his vision for a life of great professional success and distinguished public service. The event is free but you must register.