Orthodox NY Jews donate blood plasma en masse, helping corona research

More than half of those who have contributed to the coronavirus plasma research program are from the hasidic community, said Dr. David Reich, president of the Mount Sinai hospital system.

By Aaron Sull, World Israel News

Hasidim who have recovered from coronavirus are turning up en masse in New York City hospitals to donate blood plasma in an effort to help researchers find a treatment for the deadly disease, reported the Forward.

According to the report, the major influences behind their eagerness to help has come from the combined efforts of Dr. Samuel Shoham, an expert on infectious diseases in transplant patients at Johns Hopkins University, and his friend Chaim Lebovits, a hasidic shoe wholesaler from Monsey.

After Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered “nonessential” businesses to close on March 20 until further notice, Shoham, knowing Lebovits to be of extraordinary character, urged his friend to rally up those in the hasidic community who have recovered from coronavirus to donate blood plasma.

“I had no idea that he would drop everything and completely immerse himself in this,” Shoham told the news outlet. “[Lebovits] is giving his community members a chance to do something, now that they have this power in their body to make a difference.”

Read  'NEVER AGAIN': Rabbi Shmuley Boteach assaulted, has advice for Jewish community

Lebovits took his friend’s request to heart and began creating a network of rabbis, religious organizations, virus researchers, and other health professionals to educate the Hasidic community about the benefits of donating plasma if they have recovered from coronavirus.

“The plasma isn’t just used for frum (religious Jews) or Jewish people. It’s for people in general. ” Lebovits told the Forward. “We as observant Jews have an obligation to preserve life, save life, and help as many people as we can.”

At least 3,000 recovered coronavirus Hasidic individuals have donated blood plasma, said Lebovits.

According to Dr. David Reich, president of the Mount Sinai hospital system, more than half of those who have contributed to the coronavirus plasma research program are from the hasidic community.

“The level of organization from the Orthodox community has been a step above,” he said.