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MAY 7, 2015

Israeli and Jewish groups on frontline of Nepal earthquake relief efforts By Sean Savage After an earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale hit the impoverished mountainous country of Nepal on April 25, killing more than 5,000 people, Israeli and Jewish humanitarian and governmental organizations have assumed their traditional role on the frontline of relief efforts for a natural disaster. The 260-member Israeli government mission to Nepal includes an Israel Defense Forces field hospital, a trained rescue team, and a security team, with the objectives of assisting the Nepalese people and evacuating Israeli citizens who are stranded in the country. Paul Hirschson, an Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman, told that the conditions on the ground in Nepal have been “very difficult.” “The rescue mission is headed up by the Israeli ambassador to Nepal and the foreign ministry’s deputy director general, who has already arrived in Kathmandu (Nepal’s capital) from Jerusalem,” Hirschson said on April 27. “At present, this includes collecting information; providing shelter [for some 200 Israelis who are currently at the Jewish state’s Nepalese embassy]; securing contact with Israelis, as there remain some 100 who are unaccounted for; ex-

tracting Israelis still stranded in outlying areas, where there remain some tens of Israelis; preparing for the arrival of the aid mission; arranging for the flights to land; and securing locations for the field hospitals,” added Hirschson. As of April 27, the number of Israelis who were unaccounted for was down to 50; by April 29, only one was still missing. “You are being sent on an important mission,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said, addressing the Israeli relief team, headed by IDF Col. Yoram Laredo. “This is the true face of Israel – a country that offers aid over any distance at such moments.” Also sending rescue teams from Israel to Nepal were the humanitarian and emergency response organizations Magen David Adom, United Hatzalah, Zaka, F.I.R.S.T., IsraLife, IsraAID and others, as well as the private insurance companies Harel and Phoenix. Ravit Martinez, a member of the delegation from MDA, told that the organization’s main goal is to “help the injured Israelis and groups of disconnected Israelis,” but that MDA has also worked at a military hospital to treat Nepalese citizens at a military hospital who have sustained abdominal injuries, chest injuries, and broken legs and arms. The Israeli government and MDA has also started evacuating surrogate-born babies and their parents to Israel. Nepal is a major destination for Israeli families seeking surrogate mothers for their children, since surrogacy is illegal in Israel for samesex couples. But due to the earthquake, Israel has waived the legal and bureaucratic

At right: On April 27, Israeli personnel load an aircraft with rescue equipment at Ben Gurion International Airport while the Israel Defense Forces aid delegation prepares to leave for its mission to Nepal in the aftermath of a deadly earthquake there. (Photo courtesy IDF spokesman) hurdles to their return. Hirschson told JNS. org that five babies have already been brought to Israel and that about 18 remain in Nepal, with efforts to bring them to Israel by April 28 pending a medical assessment to determine if they can fly. “If there are any who are assessed not to be able to fly, they will be looked after at the Israeli field hospital, which will be functional in the hours subsequent to the aid mission arriving later Monday or Tuesday,” Hirschson said. MDA’s Martinez said there were six babies “that couldn’t be treated” in a hospital in Kathmandu who were evacuated on April 26, and that there are eight more currently in the Israeli embassy, where they are being fed and cared for by MDA staff. The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, which has provided relief to dozens of natural disaster zones over the last century and currently works in more than 70 countries, said it is partnering

Nepal Relief Fund

Magen David Adom’s Ravit Martinez (in center, wearing baseball cap) helped treat a wounded Nepalese citizen at a military hospital following the deadly earthquake that struck Nepal. (Photo courtesy Magen David Adom)

The death toll following the April 25 earthquake in Nepal continues to rise. Thousands are injured and tens of thousands are homeless. Aid groups are receiving reports from remote villages across the mountainous country describing devastation, destruction and dwindling resources. A number of Jewish organizations are on the ground in Nepal, and Federations across America have already swung into action to collect funds for emergency relief efforts. You can be a part of this effort by contributing directly to the Jewish Federations of North America’s Nepal Relief Fund at Please join our Federation in supporting the worldwide humanitarian effort in Nepal. Thank you. Mark Silverberg, Executive Director Jewish Federation of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Scranton Hebrew Day School conducting annual pre-Shavuot bake sale The Scranton Hebrew Day School’s annual pre-Shavuot special order bake sale is now under way.Avariety of dairy and pareve items are available, but quantities are limited. Amongst the choices are savory dairy noodle

kugel, blueberry apple kugel (pareve), pineapple kugel (pareve), doughless potato knishes, lasagna, assorted quiches, zucchini soup, meat and vegetable soup, eggplant parmigiana and many other items.

The order deadline is Monday, May 11. To place an order or for more information, call the school office at 570-346-1576, ext. 2. Leah Rosenberg is chairwoman of the sale.

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with the IDF field hospital in Kathmandu through providing equipment such as neonatal incubators. JDC said that while it provides immediate aid, it is also laying the foundation for our longer-term relief efforts in Nepal. JDC’s director of communications, Michael Geller, told that reports on the ground in Nepal present a “dire situation” that has been exacerbated by Nepal’s challenging weather, difficult terrain, and deep poverty. “This is the worst earthquake of its kind in 80 years for Nepal, and it is happening in a country that has other challenges it was dealing with before the earthquake like poverty. So the combination of these factors can create a very harrowing situation on the ground,” said Geller. JDC’s main goal during the emergency stage, Geller said, is to “ensure that aid is See “Nepal” on page 4

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A look at aspiring Olympian Ilya The inventors of the Kosher Switch The Tikkun Olam Makers project PLUS Podpolnyy, who has his eye on the say it can be used on Shabbat, but uses technology to design aids 2020 Tokyo Olympics. critics say otherwise. for those with disabilities. Opinion........................................................2 Story on page 5 Story on page 6 Story on page 9 D’var Torah..............................................10

Profile for Becky Schastey

May 7, 2015 edition of The Reporter  

May 7, 2015 edition of The Reporter

May 7, 2015 edition of The Reporter  

May 7, 2015 edition of The Reporter