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Update COVID-19 19 October 2020

19 October 2020 — Eighteen (18) new COVID-19 cases were identified out of 1373 samples tested today. This brings the cumulative number of confirmed cases to four thousand, nine hundred, and ninety-two (4992). To date, four thousand, seven hundred, and ninety-seven (4797) patients have recovered and been discharged, including fourteen (14) in the past 24…
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    Weeping bitterly, the mother of Donny Morris, who died in the Mount Meron disaster last week, eulogized her son Sunday night in front of a crowd of thousands of mourners and well-wishers who came to honor his memory.

    Morris, aged just 19, from Bergenfield, New Jersey, was studying at Yeshivat Sha’alvim in central Israel and traveled to Mount Meron on Thursday to experience the traditional Lag Ba’omer celebrations at the site.

    He was one of 45 victims who were caught in a massive crush as large numbers of people sought to exit the main ceremonial court yard in what has become Israel’s deadliest ever civilian disaster.

    “My special sweet and wholesome bachur (student),” said his mother, Mirlana.

    “You were loved by so many. You really had a positive effect on the Jewish people that will never be forgotten.”

    Morris’ mother described him as “an amazing son, grandson, nephew, student, friend and sibling,” who was uncomplaining, easy to please and eager to help others.

    “You touched so many people with your warm heart. You had a smile so bright, a laugh so contagious, a soul so pure,” she said, her voice cracking with emotion.

    “I am a better person because of you. You were taken away from me too soon. I want you by my side… What I would do just to give you one more hug and kiss, and hear your soft voice,” his mother cried.

    Along with thousands of yeshiva and seminary students who attended the funeral, held in the grounds of Yeshivat Shaalvim, Diaspora Affairs Minister Omer Yankelevich, Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog, New Hope MK Yoaz Hendel and other dignitaries were also in attendance.

    The dean of Yeshivat Shaalvim Rabbi Michael Yammer also eulogized his student.

    “It is so hard to speak with you in the language of the past and not face to face. It is so hard to speak to you now when your body and soul are separated one from the other,” said the rabbi.

    “You influenced every one of us,” he continued, recalling what he said was Morris’ humility and special nature.

    “You had a special grace, a special beauty that came from the inside and spread outwards… Donny will be in our hearts forever.”

    Morris was laid to rest in the Mount of Olives cemetery following the funeral. Over 5,000 people tuned in to the funeral livestream.

    After news of his death became public, many who knew him, including staff at institutions where he had worked and studied, took to social media to mourn him.

    “His captivating smile and beautiful middos (characteristics) endeared him to everyone who knew him,” said the management staff of Camp Dora Golding where Morris had been a camper and more recently a counselor as well.

    Yeshiva University High School for Boys, which Morris had attended, also lamented the death of its former pupil, praising his dedication to his religious studies and his giving attitude.

    “Donny could always be found learning in the beis midrash (study hall), not only during shiur (class), but also during his free time. He often helped other talmidim (students) grow in their learning as well,” wrote the high school in post on Facebook.

    Several other funerals were held on Sunday for victims who could not be buried sooner.

    Brothers Moshe Mordechai Elchad-Sharf, 12, and Yosef Dovid, 18, from Jerusalem, were laid to rest late on Saturday night in Meron.

    Their father eulogized his two boys and recalled the circumstances in which they were separated.

    “After ten minutes God chose them. These souls did not belong to me; these souls belong to Rabbi Shimon [Bar Yochai].”

    The funeral of Dov Steinmetz from Montreal, Canada, who was a student at the Mir Yeshiva in Jerusalem, was held on Sunday afternoon at Har Hamenuhot cemetery in Jerusalem, while the funeral of Avrohom Daniel Ambon, 21, from Argentina is scheduled for Monday.

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