By COLlive reporter
Shluchim serving in China – Rabbi Dovi Henig of Chabad of Chengdu, Rabbi Avraham Greenberg of Chabad of Pudong in Shanghai, and Rabbi Yekutiel Kalmenson of the Ningbo Jewish Center-Chabad – have recently arrived in New York with their families, following the outbreak of the deadly Coronavirus in the country.
Nearly 60 million people remain under lockdown in Chinese cities as international researchers race to develop a vaccine and halt the virus’ spread, CNN reported.
The coronavirus outbreak has killed at least 362 people and infected more than 17,300 globally as it continues to spread beyond China.
Last week, Rabbi Henig bravely resolved to remain with his congregation, despite the spread of the virus. “We are open and continue to spread the light of joy and love to everyone, and are in contact with all staying in the area, ready to serve, help and assist,” he wrote on social media.
But by Monday, Henig and his wife Sarale had arrived in Brooklyn’s Crown Heights neighborhood with their 4 children.
He said that of the 300 Jews that live in Chengdu, only 12 people are left. “They can’t leave because they either have a pet that cannot be flown or have a Chinese family member.”
Rabbi Henig said that the few community members that have remained are regulars at the Chabad Center, and have access to the center, food and amenities. He also arranged for them to provide masks for free for those who need it.
“The situation in Chengdu is getting worse and worse,” he said, adding that “I can’t describe my appreciation for the Chinese government who worried about the people – especially foreigners. They encouraged us to leave China.”
Rabbis Henig, Greenberg and Kalmenson met with Rabbi Moshe Kotlarsky, Vice Chairman of Merkos L’inyonei Chinuch at 770 Eastern Parkway on Monday, to provide him with an update on the situation.
They expressed their plan to return to China at the earliest opportunity, once it is safe to do so, to continue their Shlichus to serve local Jews and travelers.
A big concern of the Shluchim is the halt of all travel for both business and tourism, COLlive was told.
Shluchim are struggling to maintain their community’s organizations and infrastructure in these conditions, they said.
Plans are in the works to assist the Shluchim in restoring their communities in the aftermath of the lockdowns, COLlive was told.
Best of luck Kuty and RochelShare
There is a very special Shaliach in China. RABBI SHIMON FREUNDLICH who refuses to leave because, as he told me “there are yidden here who need my help”Share