Jewish volunteers find body of missing rabbi in Mexico quake rubble

Jewish volunteers find body of missing rabbi in Mexico earthquake rubble

Jewish volunteers find body of missing rabbi in Mexico earthquake rubble

Rabbi Haim Ashkenazi had been working in the office building when the 7.1-magnitude quake struck central Mexico on Tuesday afternoon, rocking the capital of Mexico City and causing hundreds of buildings to collapse.

The volunteers worked through the Jewish new year on Wednesday night and Thursday after receiving religious guidance from Mexico's chief rabbi, Shlomo Tawil.

Along with search and rescue operations, ZAKA - largely made up of Orthodox Jewish volunteers - assist in the identification of victims and recovery of body parts in accordance with Jewish law.

The IDF delegation of 70 search and rescue specialists, including 25 engineers who evaluated the damage and provided assessments and assistance in the disaster zone to some 40 buildings, have been working around the clock in an attempt to locate survivors among the rubble and collapsed buildings.

The volunteers were working on Saturday when a magnitude 6.2 aftershock hit the area.

A 60-strong delegation from the IDF's Home Front Command, together with two foreign ministry representatives, left for Mexico City on Wednesday afternoon shortly before the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashanah) to provide emergency aid after an quake hit the country, killing at least 200 people. The IDF chief rabbi gave the group permission to travel on Rosh Hashanah, the Times of Israel reported. The delegation will stay in Mexico for a week and will come back on September 29, ahead of Yom Kippur.

As of Sunday morning, the Home Front Command delegation had surveyed 59 buildings, according to the IDF.

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) has also responded, partnering with CADENA, its Mexican Jewish humanitarian partner, to support the search, rescue, and provide emergency aid in hard-hit Mexico City.

Meanwhile, 25 former IDF soldiers who are volunteering at a school in Mexico City teaching English, math and other subjects, evacuated 460 students at the school in the wake of Tuesday's natural disaster and are credited with saving their lives, Ynet reported.

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