According to a recent New York Associated Press article, the Nachas Health and Family Network in Brooklyn has been forced to suspend its counseling services, exercise classes, and Torah lessons due to the Coronavirus outbreak. Now they rely on the kindness of Israel Frischman, who volunteers to continue delivering kosher meals to Holocaust survivors, many of whom live in poverty, are in their eighties and nineties, and are at high risk for contagion. Frischman, a caterer, perseveres despite personal risk and lack of compensation.
Frischman and volunteer Freida Bothman are united by their roots and their cause. Their grandparents survived the Holocaust, and they say it is their duty to help others who suffered unspeakable horrors in concentration camps and are now isolated at home, fearing the impact of the fast-spreading virus.
“People have to do what they have to do. They have to be kind,” Frischman said via videoconferencing. “Sometimes it doesn’t suit our pockets the right way, but it’s not about what goes into our pocket. . . . We have to make sure that people have what they need to survive.” No mention is made of Frischman and Bothman being fearful of the virus.
COVID-19 has infected more than one million people worldwide and killed almost 60,000. The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms for most people, but severe illness is more likely in the elderly and people with underlying health problems. More than 200,000 people have recovered from the illness.
From my perspective, this is an amazing story about these two people continuing to help others amid the possibility of catching the virus. What I remember from childhood is the threat of nuclear war and the fear that surrounded that possibility. Dear readers, have you had an experience or experiences of such a catastrophe or the possibility of one? Are you aware of stories that speak more to the good of humanity during times of crisis? All comments are most welcome.