Matzos on ration and NSW parliament hears of COVID-19 deaths in the ultra-orthodox community in NYC

March 27, 2020 by J-Wire Newsdesk
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The COVID-19 crisis is affecting the sale of Solomon’s Matzo for Pesach with NSW Shadow Treasurer, Walt Secord reporting that that famous supermarket and liquor outlet Kemeny’s in Bondi is limiting supplies to two a customer.

Walt Secord gets his Solomons

Mr Secord, who is deputy chair of the NSW Parliamentary Friends of Israel was responding to a request from his 85-year-old Ukrainian-born mother-in-law, whose only request from “the COVID isolation” was a box of matzo – well before Pesach in April.  (Mr Secord’s spouse is a member of the Emanuel Synagogue and he is an associate member.)

He told J-Wire: “My spouse, Julia’s mother’s first request was to ensure that she had gefilte fish and matzo for Pesach – if she was still in isolation during Pesach. We already had the gefilte fish.”

Walt Secord was prompted to make the purchase after he heard a radio interview on March 26 on ABC Radio’s 2BL with Wendy Harmer and Robbie Buck where they interviewed Great Synagogue chief minister Dr Rabbi Benjamin Elton.

He said: “It was a beautiful interview.  Rabbi Benjamin Elton talked about the challenges of marking Pesach during the COVID-19 crisis, saying the multi-generational seders were the highlight for Jewish families – and that was the hardest part for some families.

I have to admit I got choked up when Rabbi Elton said the Jewish community would get through this as he recalled that even during the Shoah that Jews in concentration camps found ways to celebrate and mark Pesach.

On ration

On a lighter note, after I posted a photo on Facebook and I got the most unusual and humorous replies and responses. All my Israeli-born friends all joked that I could have their supply at Kemeny’s, but my local Australian-born friends were quick to offer advice on how to supplement our family supply.”

Heffron MP, Mr Ron Hoenig who is the Parliament’s only Jewish MP was quick to point out that he had no problem getting his supply from Krinsky’s Kosher Supermarket – and he was stocked up for Pesach.

But on a very sober note, meanwhile, in the final and special session of the NSW Parliament on March 24, where all political parties came together to pass emergency COVID-19 laws and the State stimulus package, Mr Secord ended his treasury speech on a personal remark.

Mr Secord said he had spoken to long-term friends in the ultra-Orthodox Jewish community. They have already lost or they knew they were going to lose relatives in New York City.

“Back here in NSW my spouse is feeling the pressure as she sees us taking calls and responding. She is heartbroken that she can no longer see her three grandsons every Sunday morning and they do not get to see their Babushka, which is the Russian word for `grandmother’. A similar story is repeated in every household across New South Wales, in the nation and around the world. The little boys ask, ‘Why can’t we play chess with Babushka? Why can’t we go to the park on our scooters with Babushka? Why can’t we see Babushka?’ They cannot because they love her,” he told NSW Parliament.

Mr Secord ended his speech saying that he sincerely hoped to see all of his parliamentary colleagues when the NSW Parliament returned on September 15 –after the COVID-19 crisis.

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