As the creator and co-founder of Yad b’Yad a community based mental health support group organization founded in 2012, and imadi, an organization which provided case management and guidance to Jewish families contending with mental illness, Zeldy Oppen’s mission in the work that she does is to help lessen the stigma associated with mental health issues and provide a safe place for those affected that they need not suffer alone in silence. Zeldy is highly passionate and has gained a deep appreciation of support as she has seen how it has impacted those who participate in them. She feels privileged to be a part of CPI and involved in its impactful achievements. Zeldy is a member of Oppen Group LLC, a real estate company, and is a devoted wife/mother of a fun loving family. She enjoys traveling, reading, yoga, biking, and frequenting cafes with friends.
I got involved with the Covid Plasma Initiative after a good friend called me one day and said, "You are perfect for this job! Call this number and they will explain the rest." So I picked up the phone, dialed the number, and said, "Hi, my name is Talya, I'm a newly graduated Physician Assistant who is currently unemployed, how can I help?" and the answer I heard was, "I've never been so happy to hear that someone is unemployed!" There was a lot to do and a lot of calls to make so I jumped right in with a lot of encouragement from the team and the rest is history!
Chana Genendel (Anita) Adler is a registered nurse, board certified in multiple specialties, currently employed as Maternal Child Health Educator and Epic Clinical Lead at Montefiore Nyack Hospital. A fundamentally boring mother and grandmother, lately her leisure activities have been largely curtailed to experimenting with ways to remove water spots, on alternate Thursday evenings. Ever in awe of those who do while others watch, she is honored to have a part in CPI's lifesaving work.
I decided to get involved with the COVID Plasma Initiative after a good friend called and asked if I would be available to make calls and recruit people to donate their plasma. Since I was almost done graduating college and had a lot of extra free time, and I'm about to start PA school, I thought it would such a great learning and rewarding experience for me to try to be a part of such a devoted group of people who are willing to give time out of their busy days and try to save lives. I've spoken to such inspiring people over the phone and I feel so honored to have had the zechut of helping save Klal Israel.
I am currently a physician assistant student and during the COVID-19 pandemic my school decided to pause clinical rotations. I then started looking for a way to help those in need, especially with my devotion and developing skill in the medical field. My friend then told me that the Covid Plasma Initiative was looking for volunteers to help organize plasma donations to those in need. I was so excited and jumped on the opportunity. I am continuously amazed by the donors and how they are so excited at the opportunity to help those who are battling the disease. It is truly an honor to work with such a dedicated, hardworking team.
I received a call a week or so before Pesach from a good friend of mine asking if I can help make some calls for a new organization that is trying to help people donate plasma. I readily agreed as there was no yeshiva, I had plenty of time on my hands, and was more than happy to do something good with it. What started with 2 calls turned into 6, then 10, and before long it turned into a pretty full time job calling around 30 people a day plus a daily Zoom meeting for the latest updates in scheduling and requirements. Then came a week after Pesach and remote yeshiva started up so I could no longer help out , but I was happy I had the zechus for 3 weeks or so to make good use of my time and help save people’s lives.
My cousin, Talya Shoshani, a baalat chessed, told me about this wonderful organization, COVID Plasma Initiative. When she asked me if I have time to make a few phone calls, I felt a major achrayut, responsibility, to help my brothers and sisters who are battling for their lives. From the few people I called, I realized how great of a nation we are ״מי כעמך ישראל״, people so excited and passionate to help out, and we’re willing to do all that it may take to save a life. We should never have to make such phone calls again. BH we should greet the Moshiach speedily in our days, to take us home, happy and healthy.
I’m a PA student from New York. When my program decided to put our rotations on hold due to COVID-19, I was so upset that I could not help in any way. A few days later, my friend Talya called and told me all about the Covid Plasma Initiative. I did not hesitate to reach out to help. I was in awe of how many fellow Jews were not only willing, but excited to give their plasma to save other people’s lives and at the amazing volunteers who were working day and night to reach out to them.
Like many others, I was temporarily out of work. After just a bit of time, I became a bit antsy to find some useful way to fill my days. Then came a call from Rabbi Naftoli Miller at Agudah. He asked if I would be interested in helping out with the COVID Plasma Initiative. Before I could even think about it I got a phone call from Pam Sherr. She said "Hi, this is Pam, Naftoli told me you would be interested in helping out. We need you to start today. There is a lot to do and a lot of calls to make......" So I did just that. Covid Plasma Initiative became my new project. I could never be thankful enough for this opportunity.
Alyssa Baumgarten is a retired attorney, mediator and a life long community activist. I am honored to serve as the Director of Outreach for the Covid Plasma Initiative. When it comes to plasma donations, the Jewish community has taken the lead throughout the US but we can’t meet the rising need for plasma alone. My focus, is to grow this lifesaving initiative beyond the confines of the Jewish community by promoting it to elected government officials, other faith based communities, civic organizations and just about anyone who is in the position to donate convalescent plasma and help save a life.
Shoshana Bernstein is the President of SB Writing & Communications and has been involved in health education for several years. Having partnered with the NYS DOH to create culturally sensitive vaccination education for the Orthodox Jewish community, she is uniquely suited to assist CPI. Shoshana is a passionate community activist and is often the first call for those in need. She is the founder of several initiatives including: Appreciation Matters, a car magnet campaign to thank police and support vaccinations; V’Achalta Senior Food Program; $24U a campaign to thank nurses; and facilitated the access of federally funded emergency food to thousands of children.