A NY Times story on Tuesday profiled what has turned into an incredible Kiddush Hashem: Plasma donations by Orthodox Jews.
The NY Times headline reads: Hasidic Jews, Hit Hard by the Outbreak, Flock to Donate Plasma.
But the Daily Mail UK headline said it better: New York Orthodox Jews make up HALF of all US plasma donors volunteering blood to help treat COVID-19 patients as the community turns ‘tragedy into a superpower’.
YWN had a story two weeks ago about the thousands of Orthodox Jews that lined up in just a few hours notice in Flatbush, Boro Park and Baltimore to donate plasma. YWN also had an article about the 1,000 Orthodox Jews who were tested in Lakewood.
Some of the Daily Mail article reads:
New York Orthodox Jews make up half of all US plasma donors volunteering blood to help treat COVID-19 patients, according to a medical expert.
Dr. Michael Joyner of the Mayo Clinic, who is running a study on the effects of plasma to treat the virus, said more than 5,000 patients across the US have been given plasma treatment so far and, when it comes to donors, ‘by far the largest group is our Orthodox friends in New York City.’
‘I would be shocked if they were less than half the total,’ Joyner told the New York Times.
Thousands of Americans who have recovered from coronavirus are donating their blood to plasma clinics in the hope that it can be used to treat other people struck down by the virus.
And Orthodox Jews are making up a significant proportion of the volunteers as the famously tight-knit community pulls together amid the health crisis and many see their newfound health as a ‘blessing’, according to medics and community members.
This comes as the Jewish community has been especially devastated by the pandemic in virus epicenter New York, home to the largest Jewish community outside Israel.
More than 12,000 New York Orthodox Jews have signed up to various community programs donating blood plasma since April 4 and organizers expect this to reach 30,000 soon, the Times reported.
Orthodox Jews from New York are ‘punching way above their weight’ when it comes to donating, Dr. Shmuel Shoham, who is leading a study at Johns Hopkins University on using plasma to treat people exposed to the virus, told the Times.
‘The community has taken a tragedy and turned it into a superpower.’
Several grassroots initiatives have sprung up in the local community, with the word spreading via synagogues and community newsletters.
‘What struck me initially was that we all kind of had the same idea,’ Avrohom Weinstock, who organized a scheme through his company Agudath Israel, told the Times.
‘It resonated with everybody in the community and that’s why they really pushed it forward and donated.’
(YWN World Headquarters – NYC)