Zoom Seders: “In bold ruling, some Israeli religious authorities say use of technology permissible because it allows families to celebrate together during time of crisis”

14 Sephardic Orthodox rabbis say Passover Seder can be held via videoconference
by Nathan Jeffay
March 25, 2020

In what may be one of the boldest rulings issued on technology in recent years, several Sephardic Orthodox rabbis in Israel have declared that families may conduct their shared Seder over videoconference. While Orthodox religious law normally bans the use of electronic devices on Shabbat and festivals, the ruling, signed by 14 rabbis, permits the use of software to connect the elderly to their families on the first night of Passover. The written ruling (Hebrew) comes as leaders are warning the elderly not to heighten their chance of coronavirus infection by meeting with young relatives — and as Israeli families are discussing the pain this separation causes them. READ MORE

TABLET MAG The Resilience of Rituals Despite the stilted nature of [a shiva] gathering like this over Zoom, I was amazed that we all knew what to do. Without any clear set of rules, we understood that the mourner was not to play hostess. During the lulls in conversation, it was not her responsibility to fill the silence or entertain. Someone else would open up conversation with a prompt, “Let’s share some stories [about the deceased].” 

TIMES OF ISRAEL Israel’s chief rabbis say Passover Seder can’t be held via video-conference David Lau and Yitzhak Yosef dismiss previous ruling that green-lighted tech option, while two rabbis behind it stick to their guns

JTA You’ve probably forgotten how good ‘The Prince of Egypt’ is. Well, now it’s on Hulu. While it may not be the perfect animated movie, “The Prince of Egypt” is about as good as an hour and 40 minute encapsulation of the Passover story can conceivably get. It tells the story in full, from Moses being sent down the Nile River to Pharaoh’s palace, to his realization that he is not a prince of Egypt but a Hebrew, to his eventual parting of the Red Sea, to his leading his people from charging Egyptian soldiers to freedom in the desert. 

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The NYC school is demanding Eden Roc return its money, citing a passage in the contract that provided the trip could be canceled in the event of a “disease outbreak”

NYC Jewish school sues Miami Beach hotel for $2.3 million refund after coronavirus axes trip
by David Ovalle
March 31, 2020

Students, parents and staff of New York City’s Magen David Yeshivah day school had planned a grand Passover holiday at the iconic Eden Roc hotel in Miami Beach. They’d rented 621 rooms for 10 nights for about 1,200 guests to enjoy the beach, pool and restaurants in between a series of religious gatherings at the hotel’s banquet halls. The down payment for the April trip: $2.3 million. Now, the coronavirus pandemic has forced the school to cancel — but the Eden Roc is refusing to issue a refund, according to a lawsuit Magen David has filed in Miami-Dade circuit court. READ MORE

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China behind the cute panda: “Hard to Believe” now free to watch during coronavirus lockdown

Within China’s medical infrastructure is a dark secret that we expose in “Hard To Believe.” The information in the film has been used as evidence in the recent China Tribunal for investigating allegations of forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China. This is a crime the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would like to keep hidden at all costs. It is a significant factor in why the CCP has not allowed the international medical community in to help stop the spread of the corona virus. 

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Medtronic CEO Yaron Yitzhari: ‘The financial impact isn’t what counts – the main thing is to save lives’

Ventilator manufactor Medtronic gives away patents to its competitors
by Shimon Cohen
April 1, 2020

Medtronic, the world’s largest manufacturer of medical equipment, is currently receiving large amounts of attention for its ventilator. This week, the CEO of the company’s Israel division, Yaron Yitzhari, made the decision to release all of Medtronic’s patents for the production of ventilators, in order to enable any company wishing to manufacture them to use Medtronic’s blueprints, for free. Arutz Sheva spoke with CEO Yitzhari, asking him about his decision and the possible repercussions for the company. “We didn’t just release the patents,” he clarifies. “We’ve made available all the details of the manufacturing process, for anyone who’s interested in manufacturing ventilators himself.” READ MORE

ISRAEL HAYOM IDF converts assembly lines for tanks to make medical equipment “Within 12 hours we changed our entire work plan,” says Col. Udi Amira, commander of the IDF’s Rehabilitation and Maintenance Center for armored vehicles. We are working at full strength to find creative solutions that will save lives.”

I24NEWS I24NEWS FDA okays Israeli drug for coronavirus treatment trials NeuroRx, a US-Israeli pharmaceutical company, and Relief Therapeutics, a Swiss drug development company, announced Sunday they received the go-ahead from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for phase two trials of a drug [Aviptadil] that could take on a deadly condition associated with COVID-19.

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To be clear, the rockets from Gaza are an effort—even amid their own health crisis—“to destroy Israel and replace it with an Islamic state”

Palestinians: Despite Coronavirus, Jihad Against Israel Continues
by Khaled Abu Toameh
March 31, 2020

As the world is busy pursuing the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, the Iranian-backed Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) groups in the Gaza Strip have found the time to remind everyone that they remain committed to pursuing the fight against Israel. While many international media outlets and human rights organizations, including the United Nations, are warning of a “catastrophe” in the Gaza Strip after the discovery of nine coronavirus cases there, Hamas and PIJ — the two dominant groups that have been ruling the Gaza Strip since 2007 — seem to care less about the safety and health of their people. READ MORE

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“The rise of anti-Semitism in the U.S. exposes the distressing fact that the American Jewish community lacks both a unified leadership and a singular voice with which it can respond appropriately”

Awaiting ancient hatreds, anticipating new normals
by Rozita Pnini
March 29, 2020

Like a mutating virus, anti-Semitism continues to raise its ugly head in the United States. This virulent form of prejudice has infected the world for many centuries, culminating in the worst genocide in human history. Today, this virus is resurgent, and responsible governments should seek to stamp it out – just as they would in response to a viral pandemic – because innocent people die in both cases….There are some who assign responsibility for the rise of this hatred to President Trump. Some within the Jewish community have even criticized his December, 2019 executive order against anti-Semitism on college campuses. Criticism of such an order is indicative of the depth of division that exists within the Jewish community. Where we need unity, we find only division. READ MORE

CENTER FOR COMBATING ANTISEMITISM StandWithUs has been fighting antisemitism and anti-Zionism for the last 18 years, and we recognize that now it is more important than ever, to challenge Jew hatred. That’s why we have opened a new, dedicated division to fight antisemitism: The StandWithUs Center For Combating Antisemitism. The new department will employ new strategies focused on aggressively confronting “the world’s oldest hatred”, including through legal means. To file an Incident Report, click here.

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“Despite his very critical condition, Neumann’s family was holding out hope that he would emerge from his coma”

Monsey Hanukkah stabbing victim Josef Neumann dies three months after attack
by Larry Celona and Kenneth Garger
March 30, 2020

Josef Neumann, the most gravely wounded victim from a Hanukkah machete attack at a rabbi’s home in Monsey, New York, died on Sunday, law-enforcement sources said. He was 72. Neumann was one of five men allegedly hacked by Grafton Thomas on Dec. 28 while celebrating the Jewish Festival of Lights in Rabbi Chaim Rottenberg’s home. The 18-inch machete allegedly used by 37-year-old Thomas “penetrated [Neumann’s] skull directly into the brain” his family said in a statement at the time. Two days after the attack, a graphic photo posted to Twitter by the Orthodox Jewish Public Affairs Council showed Neumann on a respirator and lying comatose in a bed at the Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla. READ MORE

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