New York – A cooperation agreement was signed last week in New York between Yehuda Meshi-Zahav, the Chairman and Founder of the Israel-based ZAKA Rescue and Recovery Organization and Rabbi Mendel Rosenberg, founder and president of the American organization Chesed Shel Emes.
The American organization, which numbers over 500 volunteers throughout the USA who handle all matters related to honoring the dead, will now operate under the umbrella of the U.N.-recognized ZAKA International Rescue Unit in all their dealings with international entities and the government in Washington. Others attending the meeting included Chesed Shel Emes Director of Govt. Relations Rabbi Zvi Gluck and Director of Operations Rabbi Mayer Berger as well as the co-directors of the ZAKA International Rescue Unit Mati Goldstein and Dovie Maisel.
In addition, new joint training courses will take place in the States for new volunteers, as well as advanced training for existing volunteers in both Israel and the States. The two organizations have cooperated extensively in the past, including incidents that required international intervention and significant logistical abilities.
ZAKA Chairman Yehuda Meshi-Zahav: “The cooperation between the two organizations represents a significant upgrade in the reach, efficiency and capabilities of the ZAKA International Rescue Unit and will greatly contribute to the abilities of the two organizations as they carry out their sacred work in honoring the dead around the world, as well as in the United States.”
CSE President Rabbi Mendel Rosenberg: “The goal of Chesed Shel Emes has always been to honor the deceased and help their loved ones cope with the tragedy. This joint venture between CSE and ZAKA will tremendously enhance our capabilities of reaching that goal all around the globe.”
The 1500 volunteers in the Israel-based ZAKA Rescue and Recovery organization are best known for their 24/7 professionalism and dedication in saving lives and honoring the dead at emergency incidents, terror attacks and road accidents. The UN-recognized ZAKA International Rescue Unit has assisted at natural disasters (e.g. Haiti, New Orleans, Thailand); plane crashes (e.g. USA, Mexico) and terror attacks (e.g. Mumbai, Mombasa, Istanbul). The unit is expanding, with locally-trained units in North and South America, Europe, Russia and the Ukraine and the Far East. As a result of its UN recognition, ZAKA is able to offer emergency assistance even before an official delegation has left Israel, the host country has formally asked for help or when the country has no diplomatic ties with Israel.
Chesed Shel Emes, founded 26 years ago, deals with all aspects of honoring the dead throughout the United States (e.g. car accidents, plane crashes, homicides etc.) and bringing the deceased to a Jewish burial, particularly those whose family are unable to assist. Chesed Shel Emes is also instrumental in advocating and educating Government authorities to understand the needs of the Jewish community. In addition to honoring the dead throughout the United States, the volunteers are also involved in helping the sick via Bikur Cholim Yad Yaakov. The leaders and volunteers of the organization are held in great esteem by the authorities and relevant government bodies, as well as the rabbis from all streams of Judaism.