Israeli teacher at high risk dies after begging parents to take corona regulations seriously

Shalva Zalfreund had asked all the parents to take Minister of Health regulations seriously as she was in a high-risk category.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

The first corona-related fatality of an educational staff member occurred Friday after a kindergartner came to class although the child’s family was supposed to be in isolation.

Shalva Zalfreund of Petach Tikva had sent a WhatsApp message to all the parents of her class about a week into her illness, when she was feeling better, begging them to follow the Health Ministry’s regulations so that lives could be saved.

“The authorities are certain there are families that violated isolation or did not follow the municipality’s instructions, not to send in children who have a family member in isolation in their home,” she wrote. “This regulation was made to protect people like me.”

“It is true that isolation for a small child is an unpleasant experience, but it passes in two weeks and in that one moment we can be partners to really save lives and educate our children to respect others,” she wrote.

Being a religious woman, Zalfreund put her plea in terms of the Torah she taught the pre-schoolers.

Sending a child to kindergarten in such cases was “fatally damaging an important value of ‘mutual responsibility’ and [the commandment] not to stand idly by the blood of your neighbor.” The biblical injunction declares it a sin to be passive in the face of imminent danger to one’s fellow man.

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She did not know or care who might have carried the virus into her class – just that it should not happen to anyone else.

“God forbid I blame anyone. Let that not be understood from what I said,” she wrote, adding, “If there is but one person who read my words and understood the importance of the isolation restrictions – it would be rewarding.”

It was for the sake, she said, of “the grandparents, neighbors and older uncles who surround us and do not deserve to die.”

Zalfreund accepted her illness as God’s will and believed that she would soon be able to leave the hospital.

“My words may be difficult to read, but they were written with all my heart and in the prayer that I will soon be able to get out of the journey I have been assigned to. Thank God I am recovering and the most difficult stage of the disease is already behind me.”

Unfortunately, her condition took a turn for the worse, and Petach Tikva lost a veteran educator.

“Our hearts break,” said Anat Dadon, director of the pre-school department at the Teacher’s Union. She called Zalfreund “a woman who raised generations of children, a valued and beloved pre-school teacher for 40 years.”

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Zalfreund is survived by two sons and four daughters.