After donning his Tefillin (phylacteries for Jewish prayer) on Monday, Rabbi Shalom Greenberg from Chabad-Lubavitch of Shanghai donned his mask and went to give the Shanghai Jewish Refugee Museum 10,000 masks to distribute amongst the elderly Chinese population in the historic Hongkou area, known during WWII as the “Jewish Ghetto.”
“We are honored to be able to help wonderful people who helped our people at a time of dire need,” Rabbi Greenberg said. “Last week, the world commemorated 75 years of the liberation of the death camps. At that time, tens of thousands of Jewish people found refuge in Shanghai, particularly in this exact area!”
“This is a small expression of gratitude to the Chinese people for their friendship and support.”
Rabbi Greenberg called on the international community to join the effort and help the elderly and infirm have easy access to the supplies they need during this time: “The masks are crucial to allow the elderly the mobility to organize their every day needs,” he said.
With the larger population taking great care and precautions, supplies are low. These masks came from an overseas sponsor at Chabad-Lubavitch.
The staff of the museum and additional volunteers have pledged to go door to door to distribute the masks, so that the elderly and infirm need not put themselves at further risk by queuing up in the cold weather, and at a time when gatherings can be potentially unsafe during an epidemic of this proportion.
The masks are intended to help prevent the spread of a deadly coronavirus (2019-nCoV), which has killed over 360 people in China, as well as one person in the Philippines. A total of 17,486 cases of the new virus have been diagnosed, 17,300 of them in China and just over 150 in the rest of the world.
In addition another 21,558 people in China are suspected of being ill with nCOV.