ZAKA volunteers help victims of the Mexico earthquake.
(photo credit: ZAKA)
ZAKA volunteers in Mexico on Saturday found the body of Rabbi Haim Ashkenazi, the Israeli-based rescue and recovery organization confirmed.
Volunteer search and rescue teams, including an Israeli delegation made up of IDF and civilian rescue workers, have been trying to locate victims and aid survivors since Tuesday, when a 7.1 magnitude earthquake struck near Mexico City.
Rabbi Haim Ashkenazi was killed when the office building he was in collapsed, trapping him underneath the rubble.
He served as rabbi at the Kehillat Magen David synagogue and is related by marriage to Rabbi Shlomo Tawil, Mexico's Chief Rabbi.
“Immediately after Shabbat went out in Mexico (early morning Israel time), we received an update from our team in Mexico that they had recovered the body of the missing Jewish man," ZAKA International Rescue Unit Chief Officer Mati Goldstein stated. "The ZAKA team, which was on the scene at the time the earthquake struck, will remain until we receive an update that there are no more missing people.”
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 organization partnered with Cadena, their Mexican-Jewish counterpart, and worked all throughout Rosh Hashana and Shabbat in an attempt to save lives and recover the bodies of victims. The ZAKA team that located the body of Haim Ashkenazi was led by Marcus Cain.
More than 300 people have died in the wake of Tuesday's earthquake, which hit close enough to Mexico City to cause significant structural damage across the capital. This was the second quake to hit Mexico in just two weeks' time. On September 7, a magnitude 8.1 quake killed at least 90 people when it struck the country's southern coast.
A magnitude 6.2 aftershock
hit Mexico on Saturday, causing at least five deaths. Search and rescue operations are continuing throughout the affected regions.