An Open Letter to Acheinu Bnei Yisrael By A Chevra Kadisha Volunteer


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Dear Acheinu Kol Beis Yisrael Hanisunim Batzara Ubashivya,

The extraordinary display of compassion and chessed born of the current crisis, R”L, has be an exceptional kiddush sheim Shamayim.

So many chessed organizations and yichidim have not only stepped up to the plate, but have gone to bat to hit homeruns for the various causes. Their, proactively, being there for the yesomim, almanos, choilim, homebound, and so many others, showed that we truly strive to fulfill the mitzvah of vihalachta bidrachav. We can truly beseech HASH-M and declare mi kiamcha Yisrael.

I feel an obligation to relay a disturbing incident that occurred last night. I had the opportunity to speak with a nurse in one of the local hospitals. I mentioned how thankful we all are for the care the doctors and nurses have been administering to patients under such trying circumstances. He appreciated the recognition.

We then discussed various issues related to the current situation. One of things he mentioned to me was that, for the most part, besides for doing whatever they’re able to do to treat the virus, their main function is in supporting the organs that fail due to the terrible disease. Because of the severity of the organ failures, the monitoring and support is a constant and strenuous task.

We also discussed “numbers”. Please hear what I will humbly tell you now – the hospitals are losing somewhere around 10 percent of the COVID patients. It might be slightly lower or maybe even higher – I don’t know, but a lot of them are OURS.

I mentioned the name of patient, a chashuve talmud chacham in his care, and asked if he would please look after him diligently. He was happy to oblige.

Then the conversation turned awkward and embarrassing for me. He disappointingly mentioned to me “the funeral that took place on Avenue N & East 9th St. that two hundred Orthodox Jews attended”, as well as “the synagogues that are still open”, AND “supermarkets where people are not being careful”.

I did my best to wiggle us out of the funeral (it’s a big family and it was all children, grand and great-grandchildren, ba”h – I made it up. I don’t really know).
The shuls; I lied and denied (because there still are a few open, but I did straighten out the media lies about the shuls in general, and Lakewood).

The supermarkets; I didn’t even try. I was in Bingo on Friday (masked and gloved). You couldn’t even tell there’s a pandemic going on outside of there. Very few people were wearing masks and almost none made any attempt at social distancing.

I understand we all have places to go and things to do to prepare for yom tov and what not. However, if we’re not careful and we make a public spectacle of ourselves, besides for the chilul HASH-M and the sinah we are bringing upon ourselves (yes, the haters hate us anyway, but they’re dragging others in), there is another immediate and very strong concern – without addressing the obvious transmission issue.

Healthcare workers are seeing these media reports, the true and the many not true, and acheinu b’nei Yisrael are at their mercy (in a fleishige velt). ‎

Doctors and nurses are overburdened and exhausted. They are physically and emotionally drained. They are out there working tirelessly to save the lives of people they don’t know. Many of their friends, co-workers, and colleagues have fallen ill, or passed on, from the virus. They all have families of their own, some of whom are sick. On top of all of that, they themselves are in constant fear of the very real possibility of contracting this dreaded disease.

These same doctors and nurses, dealing with all of this, have been directed to pick and choose who they treat, as they see fit. Chas vishalom should they see fit to ignore one of our brethren because they feel that we don’t really care, so we don’t deserve the care … chas vishalom…

So many of them are being fed the media nonsense that the Orthodox Jews caused this. Every time we end up on the news, it reinforces this nonsense and, R”L, possibly endangers the lives of our own brothers and sisters.

I am not qualified, nor would I attempt to tell anyone what to do or where to be and when. Ask your ruv, ask your doctor, but I beg of you, try to do what must be done, without feeding into the blasphemy of the anti-semitic media, yimach shimam.

May all of Klal Yisrael have a refuah shelaima bimheira. May we speedily see then end of this mageifah and the beginning of gezunt, simchos, and prosperity (not to use on extravagance but that’s a different letter), and may the losses of talmidei chachamim and so many others be the kaparah that will usher in the geulah shelaima with Mosiach tzidkeinu.


A Chevra Kadisha Volunteer


  1. One of the levayas being complained about is the one of the Kozlover Rebbe which YeshivaWorld posted in advance with time and address so the masses could attend!
    Shame on YeshivaWorld!

  2. Where is the leadership out there? There should never have been a public levaya, however great the niftar, as it is a case of pikuach nefesh. And ywn should take some responsibility and not advertise the levaya details. Here in the uk numbers attending are restricted to 10 including the chevra which is enough to say kaddish. It may sound tough but emotion does not dictate halocho. to put it bluntly this sort of irresponsible behaviour Will R”L very likely lead to more levayas