For the two years since the death of his 19-year-old son Aviya-Yehoshua, Yisrael Goldberg has worked to raise awareness of traffic safety among religious Jews in Israel. Religious Jews are more vulnerable to traffic accidents, and are 1.5 times more likely than the average Israeli to be hurt in an accident, he says.
Goldberg gives a number of reasons for the increased vulnerability of religious Israelis. "The religious public has more young children, and more young drivers," he says, "both of which are groups vulnerable to crashes." In addition, the dark clothing worn by many in the hareidi-religious community can make them more difficult to see when they walk along the side of the road at night, Goldberg explains.
Despite the high number of victims within the religious community, those in the religious and hareidi-religious communities often remain ignorant regarding the importance of safety measures, he says, and are less likely to wear seatbelts. “There is a lack of awareness of the dangers... There is a feeling that 'G-d will look out for me,'” according to Goldberg.
Goldberg's most recent project, a competition for creative short stories that relate to the subject of traffic safety, recently concluded. The winning story, “B'Rega Echad” (“In One Moment”) by Yochai Greenglick, was published in last week's edition of B'Sheva.
Goldberg is planning an additional competition in the near future, with help from author Rabbi Chaim Sabato. Participants will submit essays on the topic of traffic safety and driving in Jewish law.