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The Jewish new year began in sorrow in Mexico last week as the family of a prominent rabbi waited as rescuers searched for their loved one amid the rubble of buildings that collapsed in a massive earthquake that struck the capital a day before the start of Rosh Hashanah.

Tragically, the body of Rabbi Chaim Ashkenazi, z’l, the son-in-law of the Chief Rabbi of Mexico, Rabbi Shlomo Tawil, was pulled from the rubble of the collapsed office building where he was killed, just an hour after the start of the new year. Rabbi Ashkenazi led the Kehillat Magen David congregation.


More than 400 people lost their lives in the 7.1-magnitude earthquake that rocked Mexico City and its surrounding communities.

An even more powerful earthquake, measuring 8.1 magnitude, struck on September 8 off the southern Pacific coast, killing 96 people. Of great concern is the fact that the temblors are continuing.

On Saturday, there were two, both in Oaxaca state, with one of the quakes, centered near Matias Romero, about 275 miles southeast of Mexico City measured 6.1 on the Richter scale, forcing rescue workers to stop their efforts and move away from the rubble temporarily, swaying buildings in Mexico City and killing two more people while toppling homes that were already damaged and collapsing several roads.

The other tremor measured 4.5-magnitude.

As a result of the ongoing temblors, a bridge and some highways in Oaxaca that were damaged by the quake earlier in the month all collapsed, according to Mexican federal police.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.