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Bnei Brak to distribute cholent at Thursday night vaccine drive

In bid to raise city’s inoculation rate, municipality advertises late-night event with free bowls of the traditional stew, bread rolls and juice for those who get vaccinated

Illustrative. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men eat cholent in Jerusalem, December 24, 2015 (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
Illustrative. Ultra-Orthodox Jewish men eat cholent in Jerusalem, December 24, 2015 (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

The predominantly ultra-Orthodox city of Bnei Brak is taking creative measures to encourage its residents to get vaccinated, including distributing steaming bowls of cholent on Thursday in a late-night drive.

The city said its inoculation centers for all four health providers will open specially on Thursday night from 7 p.m. until midnight, and will serve cholent, bread rolls and drinks to those who get the inoculation in a bid to drive up the numbers of vaccinations.

Cholent is a slow-cooked stew of beans and meat that is traditionally eaten on the Jewish Sabbath and is also a popular Thursday night meal in some sections of the ultra-Orthodox community.

The inoculation event was advertised by the municipality as a way to get all Jewish learning institutions in the city fully open and in line with any future regulations requiring vaccination for gatherings.

Ultra Orthodox Jews pray outside a synagogue in Bnei Brak, October 14, 2020. (Yossi Aloni/Flash90)

According to the Health Ministry, just 17% of Bnei Brak’s residents have received the first dose of the vaccine and 9% the second.

The city is among the worst-hit in the pandemic and has seen violations of the regulations as well as violent clashes between police and protestors demonstrating against the restrictions imposed in a bid to control the coronavirus pandemic.

As of Wednesday evening, the city was classified by the Health Ministry as a high-infection locality subject to strict regulations.

According to the ministry’s data, 17 percent of coronavirus tests on residents carried out on Tuesday returned a positive result.

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