LIVE BLOG – Coronavirus updates from across the community and the Jewish world
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LIVE BLOG – Coronavirus updates from across the community and the Jewish world

As millions are told to work from home and over-70s prepare to self isolate, we bring you the latest updates from across the community

Rabbi insists Charedi adherence to social distancing rules ‘extremely high’

A leading Charedi rabbi in north London has said the city’s strictly Orthodox community is no worse than any other for adhering to social distancing rules, despite police being called to break up outdoor prayer meetings.

Rabbi Avroham Pinter, the principal of a large Charedi school in Stamford Hill and a trustee of the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, argued that strictly Orthodox Jews were, if anything, better at staying indoors than other communities.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/rabbi-insists-charedi-adherence-to-social-distancing-rules-extremely-high/

London shul’s Shabbat livestream interrupted by vile abuse

A north London shul’s online shabbat service was interrupted by a stream of “vile abuse,” a congregant told Jewish News.

The member of North Western Reform Synagogue in Alyth Gardens, who did not wish to be named, said on Monday: “It was incredibly upsetting to see such vile abuse during what was up until that point a really special and moving service for everyone involved.

“I am just so sad that whoever was responsible thought this was justified, adding to the anxiety and distress of people at what is already a really challenging time.”

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/london-shuls-shabbat-livestream-interrupted-by-vile-abuse/

Screenshot of message allegedly sent to members of North Western Reform Synagogue

UN praises Israel’s ‘excellent’ cooperation with Palestinians tackling virus

The United Nations has praised Israel for its work over the Covid-19 pandemic and its coordination with the Palestinian authorities.

Since the beginning of the crisis, Israel has allowed the entry of critical supplies and equipment into Gaza, including swabs for collection of samples and other laboratory supplies required for Covid-19 testing, and personal protective equipment (PPE) to protect Palestinian health workers.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/un-praises-israels-excellent-cooperation-with-palestinians-tackling-virus/

Emily Thornberry says UK should ‘learn lessons from Israel’ on repatriations

Shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry has said the British government “learn lessons from Israel” on the repatriation of its nationals from overseas.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/emily-thornberry-says-uk-should-learn-lessons-from-israel-on-repatriations/

EHRS’ rabbi Neil Kraft dies from virus

Rabbi Neil Kraft, who spent 17 years leading the Edgware and Hendon Reform passed away this week. He had been due to retire in a matter of weeks.

His son Elie wrote: “Despite the NHS doing an amazing job trying to have him, he unfortunately didn’t make it. I don’t really know what to say other than my family and I are completely devastated. Not only did he mean a lot to us. He also meant a lot to the wider Jewish community.”

He added: “While I am extremely grateful for the love and support I know you will want to share, we’d be very appreciative if you’d allow us some space to grieve.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/adored-edgware-and-hendon-reform-soul-rabbi-dies/

Rabbi Neil Kraft with his family. Picture courtesy of Elie Kraft’s social media.

Kosher bakery fined for drawing social distancing lines outside store

This was the extraordinary scene outside Grodzinski in Edgware just before Shabbat as a policeman fined the bakery £80 for drawing social distancing lines in chalk outside the store to help keep customers safe.

An officer tells a bakery worker, who gives her name as Gemma: “I can’t help the law. We’re going to be ticketing soon to stop people congregating – is that wrong too?’.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/kosher-bakery-fined-for-drawing-social-distancing-lines-outside-store/

Jewish and Muslim MDA colleagues pray together

Jewish and Muslim paramedics for Israel’s emergency service Magen David Adom (MDA) were pictured praying together in an inspiring shot.

The photo, taken by a colleague, resonated with many online users and drew wide media coverage.

“MDA is proud of the work of our employees and volunteers and we are overjoyed that this powerful image has inspired people all over the world during this difficult time,” the emergency service said in a tweet this week about the picture of Avraham Mintz, 42, and Zoher Abu Jama, 39.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jewish-and-muslim-mda-paramedics-pray-together-in-inspiring-photo/

Avraham Mintz and Zoher Abu Jama praying together

Rabbi Laura’s Pesach message

Senior Reform rabbi pleads with members of the community to take all precautions when planning for Pesach.

In her message, Rabbi Janner-Klausner said the definition of kosher l’pesach had been changed by the outbreak. “Saving your life and the people around you is far more important than the right matzahs or the right kosher l’pesach things,” she said.

“What is kosher l’pesach now is you and your health and the health of people around you, so do not risk your health or the people around you to get some food that you might think that you need that we are saying this year has changed,” she added.”This is not a leniency. This is the ruling pretty much across the Jewish world.”

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/saving-your-life-is-far-more-important-than-getting-right-matzahs/

 

A London rabbi, Uri Ashkenazi was a leader of the Stanislaver Chasidic community, Hamodia reported. He died Thursday at 76.

Krispy Kreme owners pledge £135,000 to Jewish Care for survivors during virus

The family behind Krispy Kreme and Pret A Manger has pledged €1 million (around £897,600) for Holocaust survivors affected by COVID-19, with the British charity Jewish Care among its several beneficiaries.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/krispy-kreme-owners-pledge-135000-to-jewish-care-for-survivors-during-virus/

Why Jews may be at more risk of virus, and why they may not

Jonathan Boyd of the JPR breaks down the risks to the community from Covid-19, in wake of news that almost 5 percent of UK deaths are Jews.

Hedge fund manager makes £2.2bn from £22m bet on virus impact

A Jewish hedge fund manager in the US has said he made £2.2 billion from a £22 million bet on the effects of the coronavirus.

Bill Ackman, who warned that “hell is coming” to the markets, said he recouped 100 times his outlay which, if confirmed, makes it one of history’s most profitable trades.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/hedge-fund-manager-makes-2-2bn-from-22m-bet-on-virus-impact/

How is the community coping?

As the nation adapts to life in lockdown, we hear from a doctor on the front line, a secondary school teacher, a would-be oleh, a self-isolating pensioner and a Year 6 pupil

Four of our contributors: Derek, Oliver & Joanna Vinacour, Shelly Jacobs and Jo Pearlman

Bevis Marks closes for first time in 350-year history

The virus has done what German bombers could not by closing England’s oldest synagogue – London’s Bevis Marks. 

David Ereira, vice-president of the S&P Sephardi Community, said: “Bevis Marks is the only shul we believe in the world that has never closed in its 350- year history. Even during the Blitz it remained open. This Shabbat is the first time [it] had no official service.” 

Hatzolah volunteers join #ClapForNHS

Hatzola volunteers joined the rest of the country in a public clapping tribute to NHS workers and carers on Thursday evening.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/hatzola-volunteers-join-country-in-clapping-tribute-to-carers-and-nhs/

Horror at ‘cynical’ hike in rate charges

Three Jewish community organisations have reacted with horror at Britain’s high-street banks continuing to hike the rates they charge on loans and overdrafts up to 40 percent.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jewish-charities-anger-at-cynical-move-by-banks-to-hike-rate-charges/

David Baddiel thanks ‘complete legends’ supporting vulnerable

Comedian David Baddiel was among a swathe of A-listers hailing the “complete legends” supporting the elderly and vulnerable in a video message to the charity Jewish Care.

Other video messages came from X Factor’s Dermot O’ Leary, the singer Craig David, the Coronation Street star Maureen Lipman.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/david-baddiel-hails-complete-legends-supporting-the-elderly-during-crisis/

OPINION: Still something to get up for, even at home

As Britain begins working remotely, Jenni Frazer looks around the world at how people are coping with new restrictions – and urges people to stay motivated.

Read more: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/still-something-to-get-up-for-even-at-home/

OPINION: A campaign to keep NHS staff fed

Restaurant Club founder Louisa Walters speaks about her campaign to keep hungry health-workers fed with an amazing campaign which raised £20,000 in 48 hours.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/opinion-a-campaign-to-keep-nhs-staff-fed/

Hundreds tune into teen’s barmitzvah, online!

Jude Cannon was able to mark the milestone in his living room on Wednesday, with friends and family tuning in.

The 13 year-old from Hampstead Garden Suburb, who according to his dad leined “so beautifully”, was joined by his parents and his sister Lottie, 16, and hundreds watching remotely.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/hundreds-tune-in-for-north-london-teens-virtual-barmitzvah/

Lighten up lockdown with a Jewish News movie exclusive!

With the Seret Film Festival, we’re giving readers the chance to be the first to watch An Israel Love Story.

Click here, copy and paste the code, sit back and enjoy:

https://vimeo.com/252673268

The Code is: SERET250320

Read more about all the amazing films being featured by Seret: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/lighten-up-lockdown-with-a-jewish-news-movie-exclusive/

Israeli Love Story

Prince Charles has virus, charities wish him well

Jewish charities for which Prince Charles is patron, wished him a full and speedy recovery in wake of news that he has contracted the coronavirus .

The Jewish Museum London, World Jewish Relief and Holocaust Memorial Day Trust  sent the heir to the throne messages of support.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/charities-wish-prince-charles-speedy-recover-after-testing-positive-for-virus/

United Synagogue has closed its cemeteries

United Synagogue has closed its cemeteries to the public this week and is postponing all stone-setting ceremonies in a series of measures to protect the community from the threat posed by the coronavirus.

The movement’s rabbonim and rebbetzen will neither officiate weddings nor visit shiva houses while social distancing restrictions are ongoing.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/united-synagogue-closes-all-cemeteries-and-postpones-stone-setting-ceremonies/

United Synagogue fights to preserve Jewish life as virus brings UK to standstill

From putting together Pesach kits containing seder plates, educational material and a three-course meal for those in isolation, to setting up a coronavirus helpline, the movement, which closed all its shuls last week, has come up with new ways to bring members together during the pandemic.

Tribe’s Barry Coleman helps pack the United Synagogue Pesach food parcels for community members in need

Liberal Judaism will be live-streaming its biennial weekend

Rabbi Charley Baginsky, Liberal Judaism’s director of strategy and partnerships, said: “As it became increasingly obvious that biennial could not happen in it is usual form in May, we have turned our minds to how we can still have this time together.

“More than ever we need those moments of movement collaboration, of joining together in prayer and thought and even to socialise and so we are unbelievably proud to announce the biennial weekend at home.”

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/liberal-judaism-live-streaming-biennial-weekend/

Board and JLC to work ‘at level never seen before’

The groups say they are working together on fundraising, communications, human resources and operations “to pool resources and skill for the benefit of the community”.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/board-and-jlc-work-at-level-never-before-seen-amid-pandemic/

Maureen Lipman and Esther Rantzen help to keep us talking

A husband and wife in north London got a call from the beloved Coronation Street actress Maureen Lipman as part of a Jewish News campaign to tackle loneliness – with Esther Rantzen also lending support to the initiative.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/maureen-lipman-rings-hampstead-garden-suburb-couple-in-isolation/

Kosher restaurants use deliveries to keep going.

Closed kosher restaurants are maintaining a home-delivery model to keep the community fed.

“No one knows which limitations we might face later on. We are trying to keep our heads in the game and we are still here happy to serve everyone. We are coping”.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/kosher-restaurants-run-home-deliveries-to-keep-the-community-fed/

Brick Lane’s Beigel Bake urges orders online during pandemic

The family-owned takeaway food shop known for its salt beef and generously filled bagels launched its own food delivery app on Apple’s App Store earlier this year.

The 24-hour bakery in east London will remain open until further notice, but with its operating hours changed to 7am to 10pm at a yet undisclosed date in the coming days.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/brick-lanes-iconic-beigel-bake-urges-customers-to-order-online-during-pandemic/

Charedim launch welfare system

A Yiddish-speaking helpline has been set up, an upmarket kosher restaurant is cooking up free meals for the isolated and unwell, schools and yeshivas have closed and a community not known for its social distancing is largely observing the rules.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/charedim-establish-welfare-system-to-help-needy-amid-virus-concerns/

Charity coordinating help for needy say 800 volunteers signed up in a week

The charity coordinating the Jewish community’s efforts to help the isolated and vulnerable throughout the pandemic has said more than 800 people signed up to assist in the past seven days.

GIFT, which is coordinating requests and offers through its five WhatsApp groups, said volunteers made more than 300 deliveries to those self-isolating amidst an “unprecedented” increase in requests for food parcels, as job losses mount.

Read more:  https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/charity-coordinating-help-for-needy-say-800-volunteers-signed-up-in-a-week/

 

Spouse of coronavirus patient pleads with public to stay at home

A personal trainer from Hendon whose otherwise healthy husband was rushed to hospital after contracting the coronavirus has pleaded with the public to stay at home to halt the spread of the pandemic.

Anna Schuchman, 38, said her husband Daniel, a 40 year-old cycling enthusiast with no underlying health condition, went into self-isolation over a week ago after developing a cough and fever.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/spouse-of-coronavirus-patient-pleads-with-public-to-stay-at-home/

Daniel Schuchman, left, and with Anna Schuchman, right

Grieving Borehamwood family raises over £30k

A Borehamwood family grieving the loss of their grandfather has raised more than £32,000 for those suffering the effects of the coronavirus lockdown after deciding to do something he would have wanted them to do.

The Corona Care Challenge, a crowdfunding campaign, was set up through Go Fund Me last week by sisters Samantha Shaer and Emma Miller together with several other members of the Landesberg family, most based in Hertfordshire.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/grieving-borehamwood-family-raises-over-30k-to-support-those-in-lockdown/

Zoom Pesach

Senior rabbis in Israel have made an exemption for the upcoming Passover feast, telling families that they do not have to gather around a single table but can instead eat and celebrate via conference call.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/top-rabbis-in-israel-allow-zoom-pesach-in-unprecedented-virus-ruling/

Jewish charity’s digital lifeline

Jewish Interactive (Ji) said it had been working “round-the-clock” to launch its new Ji Bytes for children aged 5-9 years on Monday, which Jewish News is proud to sponsor.

The organisation has an established home learning platform called Ji Tap, and said: “We have been working around the clock over the past few weeks to prepare an emergency plan to help support Jewish schools, teachers and parents across the world with their rapidly changing educational needs during the pandemic.”

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jewish-charity-gives-digital-lifeline-to-parents-teaching-children-at-home/

New home learning platform, Ji Bytes

Wonder Woman 1984 postponed due to virus

The superhero movie Wonder Woman 1984  – starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot in the titular role – had been scheduled to arrive on screens in June. Instead, it will be released on August 14, Warner Bros said.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/wonder-woman-1984-postponed-due-to-virus/

Wonder Woman.

Aish puts classes online, slashes cost of courses

Aish is running classes at 1pm and 8pm offering “informal, virtual discussion and one-to-one learning opportunities” while also cutting the cost of its three Maimonides courses from £49 to £10.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jewish-education-group-launches-online-classes-and-cuts-price-of-courses/

Three arrested for running Buenos Aires mikvah

Three members of an Orthodox community in Buenos Aires were arrested for operating a mikvah, or ritual Jewish bath, after Argentina ordered all synagogues closed last Friday as part of a strict crackdown on gatherings to combat the spread of the coronavirus.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/rabbi-among-three-arrested-for-operating-buenos-aires-mikvah/

French Jewish leader dies of virus at 64

Andre Touboul, a rabbi affiliated with the Chabad-Lubavitch movement who led one of France’s most prestigious high schools, has died of the coronavirus in Paris. He was 64.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/pillar-of-jewish-education-in-paris-dies-from-virus-aged-64/

Andre Touboul (Youtube screenshot)

At least 22 UK Jews have died due to virus

Twenty-two UK Jews have died after contracting the coronavirus as of Tuesday, according to figures released by the Board of Deputies.

The Board of Deputies gathered information from the Union of Orthodox Hebrew Congregations, the Federation of Synagogues, the United Synagogue, the Joint Jewish Burial Society and Liberal Judaism.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/at-least-20-uk-jews-have-died-after-contracting-coronavirus-figures-show/

Sanitising the synagogue at the Moscow Jewish Community Center. Russia’s Chief Rabbi Berl Lazar has ordered to close the synagogue at the Moscow. (Vladimir Gerdo/TASS)

Iconic Israeli markets close

Popular open-air markets in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv reportedly were closed by police after the Israeli government decided to tighten the country’s coronavirus lockdown.

The Carmel Market in Tel Aviv was ordered closed by police shortly after stalls opened for business, Israel’s Channel 12 reported, even as sellers asked to be allowed to remain open a few more hours in order to sell the food they had on hand.

The Mahane Yehuda market, or shuk, in Jerusalem also was ordered closed.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jerusalems-mahane-yehuda-and-tel-avivs-carmel-market-close-due-to-virus/

Black Widow postponed

Fans of Scarlett Johansson will have to wait a little longer to see the Jewish actress starring in “Black Widow.” The film, which was scheduled to be released on May 1, has been delayed indefinitely because of the coronavirus.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/release-of-scarlett-johanssons-black-widow-delayed-due-to-virus/

Analysis: Seder, Covid 19 and the Commonwealth

CEO of the Commonwealth Jewish Council, Clive Lawton, reflects on this year’s forthcoming Pesach across the Jewish diaspora

Read more: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/seder-covid-19-and-the-commonwealth/

Rabbi says attending minyan during lockdown akin to ‘idol worship’

Rabbi Moshe Freedman of New West End Synagogue has told congregants they should not attend private minyanim. He said on Twitter: “Ok, I’m going to say it. If you have taken part in a private minyan during the lockdown, you will not receive an aliya in my shul. We cannot offer an honour to idol worshippers. You think you’re praying to God, but you’re actually worshipping the minyan, and that is idol worship.”

 

Burials protected after Jews and Muslims appeal to government

Religious burials will be protected after MPs passed an amended version of the government’s emergency coronavirus bill.

The 329-page coronavirus bill, which cleared the House of Commons on Monday, is set to go through the upper chamber on Tuesday and Wednesday.

One hundred MPs backed an amendment proposed by Shah to ensure local authorities respect the deceased’s religious beliefs.

The shadow women and equalities minister told Jewish News on Tuesday: “Both Muslim and Jewish communities were rightly anxious and very worried about the possibility of cremation in the original coronavirus bill as it is completely against their faiths.

Naz Shah

“I am grateful that government listened to those concerns and made changes to the bill and therefore, I withdrew my amendment. The government has now provided the much needed legal protection.”

She added: “The manner in which Muslim communities and organisations collaborated and worked collectively with Jewish communities and organisations has truly lifted my spirits but also highlights how we, as communities, can collectively work together and stand together with one another at such times.”

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/religious-burials-to-be-protected-as-mps-pass-amended-coronavirus-bill/

 

‘Netflix and chulent’

JW3 launched JewishOnline on Sunday so viewers can “Netflix and chulent” while practising social distancing during the pandemic.

The website contains recordings of events, live-streams of shul services, classes, screenings and performances, and videos created by Jewish organisations

What do we do when we don’t know what to do?

As teachers, parents and students adapt to a new reality of home-based education, JCoSS head Patrick Moriarty offers advice and support.

Maureen contacts Hampstead husband and wife in ‘Keep Talking’ campaign

A husband and wife in north London got a call from the beloved Coronation Street actress Maureen Lipman as part of a Jewish News campaign to tackle loneliness.

The actress, who famously starred as Beattie in the 1980s BT adverts, called the Berkovi family last week. A GIFT volunteer delivered shopping to the family on Sunday after Jewish News got in touch with the charity.

Kosher restaurants turn to deliveries

“No one knows which limitations we might face later on. We are trying to keep our heads in the game and we are still here happy to serve everyone. We are coping”

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/kosher-restaurants-run-home-deliveries-to-keep-the-community-fed/

 

‘Take care of your families and let us come to you’

The iconic family-owned Brick Lane Beigel Bake, known for its salt beef and generously filled bagels launched its own food delivery app on Apple’s App Store earlier this year.

“We ask during these difficult times that you stay safe, take care of your families and let us come to you with our new delivery app,” said the bakery’s director Daniel Cohen on behalf of the Cohen and Minzily family.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/brick-lanes-iconic-beigel-bake-urges-customers-to-order-online-during-pandemic/

Charedim launch welfare system to counter virus

The Orthodox Jewish community in north London has established its own internal welfare system for families struggling financially or logistically amid the coronavirus pandemic, with initiatives across the borough of Hackney.

A Yiddish-speaking helpline has been set up, an upmarket kosher restaurant is cooking up free meals for the isolated and unwell, schools and yeshivas have closed and a community not known for its social distancing is largely observing the rules.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/charity-coordinating-help-for-needy-say-800-volunteers-signed-up-in-a-week/ 

800 volunteers sign up to help the needy

GIFT, which is coordinating requests and offers through its five WhatsApp groups, said volunteers made more than 300 deliveries to those self-isolating amidst an “unprecedented” increase in requests for food parcels, as job losses mount.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/charity-coordinating-help-for-needy-say-800-volunteers-signed-up-in-a-week/

Yom Ha’atzmaut to become ‘Home Atzmaut’

The Zionist Federation will rebrand 29 April’s celebration as ‘Home Atzmaut’, in a bid to ensure the community can mark the occasion safely – amid restrictions on social gatherings.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/a-yom-haatzmaut-to-become-home-haatzmaut-amid-virus-restrictions/

A previous Yom Ha’atzmaut celebration (Steve Winston/ZF)

Jewish News supports Gift’s urgent fundraising appeal – Donate here

Jewish News is supporting GIFT’s urgent fundraising appeal which will buy vital food and support packages for hundreds of families in desperate need, lunch packs for school kids at home who would normally receive who would normally receive a free school meal – and essential items for emergency workers.

Donate here: JGIFT.ORG

Couples wed before coronavirus could stop them

The coronavirus pandemic has shut down synagogues as well as closing shops and restaurants and forced many to stay at home. But it didn’t stop Denise, 60, and David Lester, 65, from marrying at Woodside Park United Synagogue on Thursday afternoon.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/couple-weds-before-coronavirus-could-stop-them/

Credit: Gary Perlmutter Photography

Jewish Care resident, 99, speaks to son on Mother’s Day via video link

Despite coronavirus restrictions, Anne connected with her son Mike, 74, after the home helped its residents to stay in touch with loved ones through FaceTime and Skype.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jewish-care-resident-99-speaks-to-son-via-video-link-on-mothers-day/

It’s Mother’s Day and although relatives are not currently able to visit their loved ones in Jewish Care homes, it wont stop them being in touch. Take a few minutes to watch Ros & Mike talking to Mike’s mum, Anne. We are indebted to our staff who are working around the clock to care for the Jewish community and keeping our residents connected with their families.

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Jewish Care‎‏ ב- יום ראשון, 22 במרץ 2020

Liberal Rabbi urges greater unity amid social distancing

Liberal Judaism’s Rabbi Elli Tikvah Sarah called for greater unity amid social distancing measures in a prayer written during the pandemic.

“As social distancing prevents us from experiencing the joys of life in community, may the need to withdraw and stay well be accompanied by the urge to reach out to others with compassion and care and to forge and renew connections, even in the absence of physical contact,” it says.

The prayer was shared on Twitter last Friday by the senior reform rabbi Laura Janner-Klausner.

 

Chief Rabbi issues prayer for coronavirus

The Chief Rabbi has unveiled a coronavirus-themed prayer to recite at home as the pandemic continues to sweep the UK.

The prayer, which can be recited at any time, praises “doctors, nurses, all healthcare professionals and key workers, who tirelessly seek to heal and help those affecting, while in doing so put themselves at risk.”

It calls on members of the public to open their “hearts” and extend their “hands in generosity to guarantee that the physical distance this virus creates between us will be bridged with compassion and kindness.”

“…bestow your mercy upon all the inhabitants of our vulnerable world…”‬ As many of us turn our hearts Heavenwards…

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Chief Rabbi Mirvis‎‏ ב- יום שישי, 20 במרץ 2020

 

 

Analysis: Better than being bombed…

Amid coronavirus restrictions, Derek Taylor reflects on 12 weeks of self-isolation, and says it might be bad – but it could be a lot worse!

Read more: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/better-than-being-bombed/

Board urges cremation ‘exemptions’

The Board of Deputies has sought to forestall a situation where the families of Jews dying from coronavirus may find their loved ones cremated, rather than buried, according to Orthodox Jewish law.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/board-urges-government-to-provide-exemptions-over-proposed-virus-cremations/

Analysis: Stay inside, wash your hands and save lives

Dr Sarah Simons is on the front line of the NHS’ battle against the virus. Here, she urges the community to follow guidance and prevent its spread, while supporting the vulnerable

Read more: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/stay-inside-wash-your-hands-and-save-lives/

Dr Sarah Simons

Two members of Britain’s strictly-Orthodox community die from virus

Willi Stern, the man once known as Britain’s biggest bankrupt, died over the weekend, along with a 97 year-old woman. A third is understood to be in intensive care in Manchester.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/two-members-of-strictly-orthodox-community-die-from-coronavirus/

Italian Jewish leader dies of virus

Michele Sciama, a former secretary-general of the Jewish Community of Milan — the city’s local Jewish communal life organisation — has died of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/former-leader-of-milan-jewish-community-dies-of-coronavirus/

Astronaut’s Tel Aviv snap

Jewish astronaut Jessica Meir posted on Twitter a photo of Tel Aviv that she took from space.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jewish-astronaut-jessica-meir-posts-photo-of-tel-aviv-taken-from-space/

Shoah group helps righteous Poles impacted by virus

From the Depths converted its small fleet of four taxis into a delivery service that is designed to fulfil the recipients’ basic needs

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/british-jew-delivers-food-to-righteous-poles-risk-from-virus/

Antwerp community fears high infection rate

Jewish community leaders in Antwerp are predicting that the coronavirus will infect 85% of its members — a significantly higher rate than the one projected for Belgium’s population.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/antwerp-community-braces-for-85-percent-infection-rate-and-many-of-deaths

First Israeli victim is Shoah survivor

The victim was Aryeh Even, 88, a Holocaust survivor born in Hungary.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/israel-records-first-coronavirus-death/

Analysis: Time for us all to pull together as a community

Social distancing measures and self-isolation will have an impact on the mental health of all of us, so the community needs to support the most vulnerable at a time of need

Read Dr Ellie’s column here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/opinion-dr-ellie-cannon-time-for-us-all-to-pull-together-as-a-community/

Dr Ellie Cannon

Community’s citizens’ advice group says workload likely to rise ‘significantly’

The Paperweight charity, which provided free guidance to anyone finding it difficult to cope with financial, legal or administrative matters, said calls were already coming in from families plunged into crisis by the COVID-19 disease caused by the virus.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/communitys-citizens-advice-group-says-workload-likely-to-rise-significantly/

Gaza has first virus case

The Palestinian Health Ministry has announced the first two cases of the coronavirus in the Gaza Strip.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/first-case-of-coronavirus-announced-in-gaza/

JLGB goes digital

Just 4 days after having to postpone its face to face activities due to the coronavirus, on Monday JLGB goes virtual by offering activities through its new, free virtual weekly groups. The online sessions are open to different age groups every evening Monday – Thursday.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jewish-charity-jlgb-has-gone-virtual-in-wake-of-virus-classroom-closures/

 

Child welfare ‘shot to the top’ of agenda

Julia Alberger, a consultant project manager at the Jewish Leadership Council, said wellbeing had “shot to the top of the agenda as our kids are coming home for the coming months,” with a rush to get the right support structures in-place.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/child-wellbeing-shot-to-the-top-of-the-agenda-amid-school-closures/

Domestic abuse warning

Self isolation during the pandemic could raise concerns about abusive behaviour, a Jewish domestic violence charity has warned.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/social-distancing-could-raise-concerns-about-abusive-behaviour-charity-warns/

Analysis: With this crisis, we need to exemplify the best of human nature

As the community is impacted by the virus, Michelle Barnett of Gift reflects on ways in which people are pulling together and supporting the most vulnerable

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/opinion-with-this-crisis-we-need-to-exemplify-the-best-of-human-nature/

 

 

Top Jewish educator says online learning from Monday ‘simply isn’t realistic’

Nic Abery from Partnerships for Jewish Schools (PaJeS), said educators were experiencing a “double whammy” of having to set up online while working out which children of critical workers would be attending in-person next week.

Read more:  https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/top-jewish-educator-says-online-learning-from-monday-simply-isnt-realistic/

Rabbi thanks community for outpouring of support

“Thank you so much for the outpouring of love and kind wishes, emails, texts, WhatsApps and gifts over the past week, which has been a really challenging time,” Rabbi Yoni Golker said in the 4-minute clip.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/rabbi-yoni-golker-thanks-community-for-outpourings-of-support-in-video-message/

 

 

Analysis: An urgent appeal for small Jewish charities

With the coronavirus causing an economic slow-down, Lionel Salama says small charities will suffer heavily – and they desperately need help

Kosher retailers urge shoppers not to panic buy

At least six of the community’s leading proprietors called on shoppers not to stockpile amid the coronavirus crisis, warning it could mean some go without Passover necessities.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/kosher-retailers-unite-to-warn-against-panic-buying-for-pesach/

Martin Lewis unveils £1m coronavirus charity help fund for poverty relief

The Jewish founder of MoneySavingExpert said he has set up a £1 million coronavirus charity help fund for poverty relief in the UK.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/martin-lewis-unveils-coronavirus-charity-help-fund-for-poverty-relief-projects/

Israel National Library makes audio books free

With schools closed for the foreseeable future and millions of school-age children now home-bound, the institution said it was making a raft of books available free of charge in English, Hebrew, Arabic and French.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/israels-national-library-offers-raft-of-audio-books-free-amid-virus-crisis/

The reading room at Israel’s National Library

Rabbi Sacks: ‘Efforts to help a little like the wartime spirit”.

Former Chief Rabbi Lord Jonathan Sacks has said people’s efforts to help others during the coronavirus pandemic are “a little like the wartime spirit”.

Read more here:  https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/rabbi-lord-sacks-peoples-efforts-to-help-others-a-little-like-wartime-spirit/

How school closures are forcing parents to find new ways of working

School closures have sent thousands of Jewish parents scrambling for new ways to entertain and teach their children at home while schools get their online learning management systems set up.

Speaking to Jewish News, Volunteers at Jewish Interactive (JI) said they had been working round-the-clock to prepare online opportunities for schoolchildren while warning of “anxiety” in the days ahead.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jewish-interacting/

 

een has virtual barmitzvah after shuls close

Naftali Arden, who recently turned 13, was set to celebrate his barmitzvah with a party inspired by the hit series Friends featuring a foosball table – a nod to the iconic show – as well as music and dancing.

The Arden family, who initially postponed the celebrations last weekend, were expecting over 160 guests, including relatives travelling from the United States and Israel.

But while the party was pushed back indefinitely, a ceremony was held online on Thursday using a webcam. Rabbi Alex Chapper, of Borehamwood and Elstree United Synagogue, tuned in remotely.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/borehamwood-teen-to-have-virtual-barmitzvah-after-shuls-close/

Watch here:

Naftali Arden's Virtual Bar Mitzvah with Rabbi Chapper

BES is delighted to invite you to join our first-ever Virtual Bar Mitzvah.Mazel Tov to Naftali and the Arden family ????Tune in to celebrate with us!

פורסם על ידי ‏‎Borehamwood Shul‎‏ ב- יום חמישי, 19 במרץ 2020

How the ad king Sir Martin Sorrell reclaimed his crown

One of world’s most influential businessmen, Sir Martin Sorrell, exclusively talks to Candice Krieger about his new venture, S4Capital, and how coronavirus will affect the economy

Sir Martin Sorrell – S4 Capital
Photo © Chris McAndrew / All Moral Rights Asserted 2018

Community offers help to the needy just as it’s needed

Faith and welfare groups step up to support housebound and vulnerable people, as organisations distributing food report ‘an exponential number of new referrals daily’

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/community-volunteers-offer-help-to-the-needy-just-as-its-needed/

World Jewish Relief vows to keep serving vulnerable

“Many of those we support in Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus and Georgia have underlying health conditions, live in chronic poverty and have limited access to healthcare services,” World Jewish Relief said in a statement on Thursday.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/amid-pandemic-world-jewish-relief-vows-to-keep-serving-vulnerable/

‘We’re not scared, God will protect us’

Last week, Israel ordered a nationwide closure of schools and universities in an effort to slow down the spread of the coronavirus, trying to prevent the country’s health care system from being overloaded. While most secular and national-religious educational institutions have shuttered, some in the Charedi sector have stayed open.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/israeli-charedim-on-coronavirus-were-not-scared-god-will-protect-us/

Voice of the Jewish News

This week’s editorial looks at how the community is supporting the most vulnerable with fundraising, online initiatives, mitzvah vouchers and a ‘Keep Talking’ scheme

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/voice-of-the-jewish-news-message-to-our-over-70s-you-are-not-alone/

Maureen Lipman backs Jewish News’ ‘Keep Talking’ campaign during isolation

Coronation Street actress famously starred as Jewish grandmother Beattie in the 1980s BT adverts, encouraging people to chat on the phone.

She’s stressing the importance of keeping in contact with loved ones, neighbours and others as millions of over 70s and other vulnerable people prepare to self-isolate for 12 weeks. And while the original adverts were all about the humble landline, Jewish News’ ‘Keep Talking’ initiative encourages our readers to also make use of modern technologies such as video calling, Whatsapp and a plethora of other platforms to reduce loneliness.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/maureen-lipman-backs-jewish-news-keep-talking-campaign-during-isolation/

‘Education of our children will be transformed’

Rabbi David Meyer of Partnerships For Jewish Schools said: “Extended school closures has not been seen in this country since the last world war. While schools having been preparing for this eventuality for the past few days, delivering remote learning is complex and is going to place considerable pressures on the schools. This is a new reality and one that will be challenging for us all.”

He added: “Methods of learning will need to change and the role of schools and parents in the education of their children will be transformed. PaJeS is working with schools, supporting governors and school leaders, as well as curating further education resources, methodologies and supporting guidelines. We are also concerned about the wellbeing of all stakeholders and we working with various communal organisations to see how we can best provide support in the coming weeks Perhaps the most important message is that throughout the generations, at times of adversity we have survived through our belief in God, and our working together with care, sensitivity and ingenuity.”

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/education-of-our-children-will-be-transformed-experts-warn-as-schools-close/

Cultural groups hit hard by virus

Coronavirus has left many art companies fearing what might lie ahead for them. Francine Wolfisz looks at the potential cost of the impending lockdown

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/london-culture-is-staring-down-the-barrel-of-deep-financial-ruin

The Prince Of Egypt (A New Musical) by Stephen Schwartz @ Dominion Theatre, London.

Facebook help for parents

Thousands of parents have flocked to a Jewish teacher’s new Facebook group to share parenting tips during the pandemic.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/thousands-flock-to-teachers-facebook-group-for-lockdown-parenting-tips/

Claire Balkind

Israel tour organisers say it’s ‘going ahead as planned’, for now

In a letter sent to parents of 16-year-old participants, UJIA said “as it stands, Israel Tour 2020 is going ahead as planned”, but offered reassurances about potential money back incase it is stopped due to the virus.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/organisers-say-israel-tour-going-ahead-as-planned-but-refund-arrangements-made/

 

 

Charities forced to be ‘creative’

The global pandemic threatens to hit donors and fundraising activity, multiple charities told Jewish News this week.

How the community is rallying round the vulnerable and isolated

The United Synagogue set up a helpline operating between 9am and 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9-1pm on Fridays, while several shuls have set up live-streaming for those who cannot get to synagogue to watch and listen to Shabbat services.

Meanwhile, the Jewish Volunteering Network said there would be “new opportunities specifically related to Covid-19 such as running errands, food shopping, and collecting medicine for the elderly, vulnerable and lonely”.

In Leeds, Jewish MP Alex Sobel established a database of local volunteers “to ready our community for quarantine, to help people isolated by the coronavirus outbreak”.

Latest updates on cancelled Jewish events

News updates from synagogues, charities, museums and other communal centres.

Chief Rabbi takes unprecedented move to suspend all shul services

The chief rabbi has taken the extraordinary step to suspend all services across 120 shuls under his auspices in a bid to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis announced the move on Tuesday, saying in a statement religious leaders have a “halachic imperative” to do so.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/united-synagogue-suspends-all-services-due-to-coronavirus/

Chief Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis (Photo credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire)

Dr Ellie Cannon’s top tips to deal with stress during the pandemic

Diminish your stress levels during the pandemic with top tips from TV doctor Dr Ellie Cannon, a trustee at the mental health charity Jami.

Read her guidance here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jewish-news-gp-how-to-cope-with-coronavirus-anxiety-and-isolation/

Dr Ellie Cannon

United Synagogue warns vulnerable over funeral and shiva attendance

The United Synagogue has warned people not to attend shivas in person if they are in an at risk category.

Those medically vulnerable or aged over 70 have been told to avoid shivas and funerals, with advice being issued this week urging them to instead “offer comfort in other ways, such as by telephone and in writing. Even if you are not in these ‘at risk’ groups please give serious consideration as to whether to attend”

Read more:  https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/those-at-risk-or-over-70-must-avoid-shivas-and-funerals-united-synagogue-says/

Schools plan for closure and await government guidance

Jewish schools are yet to shut their doors as they follow government advice – but all are making contingency plans amid speculation a decision will be made on Wednesday.

Writing to parents, JCoSS headteacher Patrick Moriarty confirmed the school won’t shut until told otherwise, but that recent guidelines had “major implications for our ability to stay open for all students”.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/communitys-schools-remain-open-as-contingency-plans-made-for-closures/

Employment charities ‘working round the clock’

Resource and Work Avenue said they were staying open to keep services going while setting up additional video conferencing accounts and training volunteers to make full use of technology while heeding the government’s social distancing advice.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/employment-charities-working-round-the-clock-amid-extreme-anxiety/

Resource

Shuls embrace online learning

Some synagogues are broadcasting liturgy and classes online, as the UK steps up its fight to halt the spread of the coronavirus.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/shuls-take-services-online-as-uk-steps-up-fight-against-coronavirus/

Analysis: These are not ordinary times – but we are not an ordinary community

Amid the community-wide concern over coronavirus, Lisa Wimborne of JBD reflects on the work the charity is doing to support people.

Read more here:  https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/these-are-not-ordinary-times-but-we-are-not-an-ordinary-community/

Analysis: We may be isolated but we are not alone

Executive Director of Lead, Michelle Janes, offers a message communal unity as the Covid-19 infection continues to spread and impact on Jewish life.

Read more here: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/we-may-be-isolated-but-we-are-not-alone/

Michelle Janes

Maccabi GB suspends grassroots football

All grassroots football has been suspended by the community’s sporting body, Maccabi GB.

The news comes after the coronavirus outbreak decimated the national sporting schedule, with the suspension of the Premier League until April 3. The Football Association recommended “all grassroots football in England is postponed for the foreseeable future”.

Maccabi said: “These are challenging times for everyone and we hope that this unprecedented situation will subside and that we will soon all be able to resume normal life and activities.”

It is also “looking at a number of ways to keep the community fit and well both physically and mentally whilst at home.”

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/all-grassroots-football-suspended-by-maccabi-gb/

Progressive groups’ gap year scheme ends early

Reform Judaism and Liberal Judaism, alongside their youth movements RSY-Netzer and LJY-Netzer, issued a statement regarding the conclusion of the scheme, called Shnat.

ANALYSIS: Virus is a menace to the health of our minyanim

Alex Brummer writes that “what began for Britain’s Jewish community with some almost comical rulings about not kissing mezuzot or touching parading Torah scrolls is a much deeper crisis for practicing Judaism and the normal operations of the community.”

Read more: https://blogs.timesofisrael.com/virus-is-a-menace-to-the-health-of-our-minyanim/

 

JW3 closes until further notice

JW3 has announced it is shutting until further notice due to the coronavirus outbreak.

A spokesperson for the community centre, the epicentre of Jewish cultural life in north London, announced on Monday evening that the decision had been made to “safeguard the health and well-being of our visitors, members, volunteers, staff, teachers, presenters and performers are of utmost importance to us”.

In a video posted on Facebook, its Chief Executive, Raymond Simonson, said the community centre made a “really tough decision” but that it had “no real choice”.

Simonson insisted the JW3 temporary closure “doesn’t mean we are going to stop doing what do. We have hunkered down.”

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jw3-shuts-down-until-further-notice-due-to-outbreak/

Israel backs controversial surveillance tech

Israeli leaders have approved the use of controversial digital surveillance tools to keep track of residents thought to be ill with coronavirus.

Polls show that most Israelis trust the decision-making of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in relation to the coronavirus, but former army chief and opposition politician Gabi Ashkenazi, who chairs the Foreign Affairs and Defence Committee, said the cabinet approval of the technology was a “hijacking” of due process.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/israel-backs-use-of-surveillance-tools-to-track-suspected-virus-cases/

Clinical psychologist’s top tips to ease parental pressures

As the UK steps up measures to halt the spread of the coronavirus, parents could be left scrambling to adjust their daily routines amid looming school closures.

Clinical psychologist Karen Millett shares her top tips to ease parental pressures during the pandemic.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/parenting-during-coronavirus-from-self-isolation-to-discussing-the-pandemic/

Clinical psychologist Karent Millet offers advice to parents during the pandemic. Pictured is a stock photo of a person reading with a child. (Credit: Pexels)

Coexistence boxing event cancelled

Gloves and Doves’ inaugural event, which sought to bring five Jewish and Arab Israelis to the UK for bouts against British fighters on 2 April, has been cancelled.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/london-boxing-event-promoting-coexistence-in-israel-cancelled-due-to-fears/

 

US fighter Boyd Melson, Druze boxer Adham Kayouf (one of the five Israelis who was due to fly to London for 2 April event) and Tony Milch, pictured in Ifiay, northern Israel

UK Ambassador to Israel urges Brits to ‘follow the rules’

Britain’s Ambassador to Israel has called on UK nationals or those planning to visit the Jewish state to abide by its rules for stopping the virus.

Speaking in a Facebook live video from his home – where he is self-isolating  – Neil Wigan called for adherence to guidance in this “uncertain time”.

“The Embassy is in close touch with the Israeli authorities to make sure that we have the most up-to-date information that we can give you.”

“The most important thing is to follow the rules set up by the Israeli authorities and there’s a link on our travel advice to the Israeli Ministry of health which sets out those rules, including for self isolation, including for recent arrivals, social distancing, public gatherings, and so on. 

“I’m following those rules myself, I’m in self-isolation because somebody on my flight back from the UK to Israel tested positive for Corona.” 

“So like many people, I’m working from home and catching up on Israeli TV shows.”

 

A message from British Ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan who is currently under self-isolation. הודעה מפי השגריר הבריטי בישראל ניל וויגן שנמצא כרגע בבידוד עצמי

פורסם על ידי ‏‎UK in Israel‎‏ ב- יום שלישי, 17 במרץ 2020

Resource postpones supper quiz

Employment charity Resource has had to postpone its supper quiz due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“We announced last night that we have postponed our supper quiz, due to take place at the end of April, to 15th November.”

HET ‘redoubling efforts’ to ensure survivor testimony heard amid virus outbreak

The Holocaust Educational Trust will be “redoubling our efforts” to ensure survivor testimony is still heard during the coronavirus epidemic.

This comes after it announced last week that it had suspended all of its  outreach work with survivors,  as well as overseas educational projects, including Lessons From Auschwitz and Belsen 75.

Its Chief Executive, Karen Pollock, said the move was “done after consultation with other related organisations and those who provide care to our survivors.”

She said in the “interest of their welfare and taking on board the advice that the elderly are most vulnerable, we felt we had no option. We are in close and regular contact with survivors and their families during these uncertain times.”

“However, rest assured, that over the next few weeks we will be redoubling our efforts to ensure our online community are hearing the testimonies of our eyewitnesses, engaging in educational activities that can work beyond the classroom and highlighting the upcoming anniversary of the liberation of Bergen-Belsen on the 15th April.

Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive, Holocaust Educational Trust

Jay Rayner criticises ‘staggeringly reckless’ corona response

Jewish journalist and food critic Jay Rayner has hit out at the government’s coronavirus response, due to its impact on the arts world.

Taking to Twitter, he said: “Let me add my voice to the justifiably outraged clamour of those furious at the govt for insisting hospitality and entertainment industries shut down without legally mandating them to do so, meaning they can’t claim insurance. Staggeringly reckless.”

I’ve spent the day working with producers and theatres postponing and cancelling shows because it’s the right thing to do. Their reward? A shattered business, because Johnson et al are thinking more about big finance than peoples’ livelihoods.”

Labour’s Keir Starmer responded to Rayner, quote-tweeting his post, saying: “These concerns are reflected across the hospitality, entertainment and arts sectors. Such important parts of our economy and the people who work in them must not be put in this position. This afternoon the Chancellor must rectify this.”

Jay Rayner

JLE offers ‘online lunch and learn with Deliveroo’ following closure

The Jewish Learning Exchange is adapting to coronavirus restrictions by running online activities, including a ‘lunch and learn’ using Deliveroo.

The Golders Green-based site announced its closure as the Prime Minister  unveiled unprecedented measures to try to control the spread of Covid-19, which has so far claimed 55 lives.

Taking to Facebook, the JLE said while “there have been no confirmed cases” of the virus in its community, “our board, trustees, halachic authority and senior executive team, have unanimously agreed that it is the responsible and correct course of action for us to close”.

It added that activities will stop, including “classes, shiurim [talks], all synagogue services, social gatherings, and shabbos hospitality (even in the educators own homes).”

A spokesperson said however, the the JLE is “making every effort to continue providing our service and have already started offering online lunch and learn with Deliveroo (with kosher food) as well as produce regular podcasts, shuirs and virtual programming so that we’re less impacted by our building closure.”

This comes amid unprecedented closures across the Jewish community, including the JW3 community centre. Synagogue movements have urged elderly members to stay at home while care homes have restricted visitations to loved ones in end-of-life care.

Kisharon cancels annual dinner

Special needs charity Kisharon has pulled its annual dinner amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The charity emailed supporters saying the event is “now most regrettably cancelled”.

As it looks to raise £2.3 million in funding  which is “absolutely essential for Kisharon to continue through this period”, the charity is looking to think “outside the box” and  explore all sensible options for fundraising.

 

Jewish Care ‘suspends all visits to our care homes’

Among measures are a new screening process, self-isolation, deep cleaning and the use of sanitisation products, as well as a ban on children under the age of 12 from visiting any of its sites.

The charity said it has “also taken the very difficult and painful decision that in order to keep residents in our care homes, along with our staff and volunteers safe, we have suspended all visits to our care homes.”

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jewish-care-suspends-all-visits-to-care-homes/

United Synagogue looks at ‘protecting older and medically vulnerable members’

While “not prohibiting the attendance of members over 70” to its 62 congregations, Chief Executive Steven Wilson urges those “who are medically vulnerable to refrain from attending” shul, and other community events, telling them to “act with responsibility”.

The United Synagogue also said it “will soon be launching a helpline for members who are self-isolating or who have been advised to stay at home”, which includes healp with “regular or Pesach shopping and collecting medication”.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/united-synagogue-says-medically-vulnerable-should-refrain-from-attending-shul/

Board forced to cancel event on far-right

The Board of Deputies has cancelled a fully-booked event in Parliament, on the rise of the far-right.

Taking to Twitter, it said: “We are sad to announce the cancellation of tomorrow’s fully-booked event about the rise of the far-right, following restrictions on visitor access to the @UKParliament  due to coronavirus (COVID-19). Statement by Vice-President @AmandaBoDVP:

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/board-cancels-sold-out-event-on-rise-of-far-right/

Save a Child’s Heart UK postpones dinner and all fundraising events

Save a Child’s Heart UK has postponed all future fund raisingevents until later on in the year, including its forthcoming dinner on 30 March.

David Silverston, Trustee of SACH UK said: “the health of our supporters is paramount and in no way do we wish to jeopardise this, as a medical charity, we are very aware of the effect a virus can have and consequently postponing our events is the most sensible and safe option”.

Interfaith seder cancelled

Barnet Multi Faith Forum has decided to postpone its Seder Meal on 2 April to next year.

All those who have paid will be refunded.

Pesach begins on 8 April.

Heart warming examples of rallying round in the community

Amid the panic over the spread of the virus, we’re looking for examples of heart warming actions of rallying round in the community.

Have you helped someone who is self-isolating? Perhaps you’ve purchased some food for someone that can’t get out of the house? 

Let us know how you’ve been supporting those around you! Email: Editorial@thejngroup.com – or contact us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Netanyahu trial delayed over virus

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s criminal trial will be postponed until May due to emergency measures taken to combat the coronavirus.

This comes after the PM, on Saturday night,  prohibited all leisure activities in Israel and placed a ban on all gatherings of more than 10 people.

Later on Saturday night, Justice Minister Amir Ohana put the country’s courts in a “state of emergency” over the virus, leading to the postponement of Netanyahu’s trial, Ynet reported. Only urgent cases will be heard, according to the Jerusalem Post.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/netanyahus-criminal-trial-postponed-due-to-coronavirus-measures/

 

Kiddish coronavirus horror

“…you can only imagine my shock, having received all this prudent advice, when having gone through the rigmarole of avoiding touching others and cleaning our hands, that we were all expected to just plough in to the communal Kiddush and share crisps and bridge rolls and pastries.”

This is what one reader thought of their Synagogue’s approach to tackling coronavirus.

Read more on our letters page: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/letters-to-the-editor-kiddish-poses-virus-risk/

Expert urges Jewish communities to shut down

Gary Slutkin is a physician and epidemiologist formerly of the World Health Organization, the Founder and CEO of Cure Violence, and an innovator in health, behaviour change, and data based approaches to local and global problems.

Here, he argues that Jewish communities should stop what their doing to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

 

“While this is a moment for in-person synagogue activities to pause, this is an ever more critical moment for the role synagogue can play in the lives of people who are isolated, fearful or just in need of comfort. Nearly everyone is in some level of emotional and mental distress over what is happening.”

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/opinion-why-jewish-institutions-should-cancel-everything/

Israel investigates 21 people over violation of self-isolation

Israeli police have launched criminal investigations of 21 residents who are suspected of violating the terms of their mandated isolation to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Most on the list are citizens who are believed to have been observed outside their homes during the 14-day period after their return from a foreign country. Israel requires anyone returning from abroad to remain isolated for that amount of time before they are free to leave if they do not display symptoms.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/israel-police-investigating-21-suspected-of-violating-isolation-orders/

Jewish Agency recalls teen emissaries

150 “shinshinim,” teenagers who are working in the U.S. during a gap year after high school and before beginning their Israeli army service, are getting ready to board planes and return to Israel, where they will spend two weeks in quarantine before joining their families for Passover.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jewish-agency-sending-teen-emissaries-back-to-israel-to-quarantine/

Jess Phillips addresses Board plenary in Birmingham

Labour politician spoke at today’s Board of Deputies meeting in Birmingham.

She told representatives: ‘the Labour Party has lost all credibility to speak about minorities through its handling of antisemitism”.

Watch the plenary live here:

Sephardi group cancels fair

Sephardi group Chazak has announced the postponement of its third Mashalla Fair, due to take place on 22 March, because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Taking to Facebook, the group said: “We are very disappointed to announce that we have to postpone the upcoming Mashalla Fair which was due to take place on 22nd March due to the Coronavirus threat!

We will be in touch in the near future pG [please God] with a new date once things are more certain.”

In the meantime, keep your eyes and ears open for all that Chazak has coming up!”

Rabbi Moshe Levy, Executive Director of Chazak said, “Chazak had planned to hold its largest community event of the year, the Mashallah Fair on the 22nd March. Mashallah is an annual event previously attended by more than 700 people with camel riding, monkeys and a shuk amongst other interactive Sefardi themed activities. This year due to the unforeseen turn of events, and in accordance with Government safety guidelines on large events, we will now postpone the Mashallah Fair to a date at which everyone is able to attend. Please G-d as soon as it becomes possible, we will make this year’s Mashallah Fair even bigger and better than ever before and we look forward to welcoming the community to Chazak’s sefardi extravaganza. ”

Chazak Fun day in 2018
Credit: Blake Ezra Photography

Scottish Jewish group cancels Klezmer concert

The Scottish Council of Jewish Communities has cancelled a Klezmer and Yiddish Song concert due to take place today due to Coronavirus.

It took to facebook to announce: “SCoJeC is very sorry to announce that the decision has been taken to CANCEL the Klezmer and Yiddish Song concert “Waiting for the Nightingale” which was due to take place on Sunday 15 March at the Tchai-Ovna, Glasgow, in the wake of the coronavirus health emergency. We will be writing to everyone who has booked with further information.”

Luciana Berger on ‘very upsetting’ panic buying incident

Luciana Berger has spoken of a ‘very upsetting’ incident in Golders Green, during which an elderly lady was refused the last packed of pasta.

She called on the government to work with retailers to ensure an end to panic buying.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/luciana-berger-concern-over-upsetting-golders-green-panic-buying-incident/

Jewish aide to Brazil president has virus, met Trump on Sunday

Fabio Wajngarten, the press secretary for Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, tested positive for coronavirus days after meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump, according to news reports from Brazil.

He tweeted a photo Sunday of himself standing with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence at Mar-a-Lago, the president’s resort in Florida.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jewish-aide-to-brazils-president-has-coronavirus-days-after-trump-meeting/

Rome community ‘in a state of complete uncertainty’

“We are in a state of complete uncertainty,” president of Rome’s Jewish community, Ruth Durgello, said.

“We are trying to stabilise the situation but there is tremendous anxiety here about the danger of a complete collapse. General morale is very low. We know there is light at the end of the tunnel, but we don’t know how long the tunnel is.”

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/romes-community-virus-lockdown-worst-situation-since-second-world-war/

Israel shuts schools and universities

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu did not specify how long the closure will last. Special education schools and kindergartens will remain open, however, and children in grades 1-3 also will be able to attend special day cares.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/israel-closes-schools-and-universities-due-to-coronavirus/

Analysis: Everything is up in the droplet-laden air

“Pesach is fast approaching. Hundreds are booked onto flights and into hotels. Thousands of families are planning to spend their holidays together. Or they were. The virus has thrown everything up in the droplet-laden air.”

Read this week’s Jewish News editorial, reflecting on the impact of coronavirus to the Jewish community in Britain, and around the world.
This week’s Jewish News front page

Entrepreneur’s battle against virus

As the coronavirus spreads, Terry Newman has made it his business to meet just this kind of challenge.

Candice Krieger spoke to the entrepreneur – a  former chief of staff to Lord Janner,  about his role as the director of MCC London (www.mccgrouplondon.com), a medical consultancy and construction group that specialises in the planning, design and execution of turn-key modular, stationary and mobile hospitals across the globe.

Read how MCC London is confronting the spread of coronavirus here.

MCC’s mobile hospitals in Peru. ‘We designed and installed all 10  hospitals in nine months,’ says Newman

JW3 chief: ‘Perform random acts of kindness’

JW3’s chief executive Raymond Simonson has urged the community to perform “random acts of kindness,” as he prepares to home-deliver fresh challah and fruit to those self-isolating in north London.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jw3-chief-to-deliver-challah-and-fruit-to-community-members-in-self-isolation/

JW3 chief executive to deliver challah and fruit to members of the community in self-isolation

Sinai school giving pupils home learning packs in case closure

One of the community’s biggest primary schools has given students home learning packs to continue their studies, if it is forced to close due to coronavirus.

This comes after the government said it would not move to close schools yet as the evidence for its effectiveness is lacking, though this will be kept under review.

Juliette Lipshaw, headteacher of Sinai Jewish Primary School outlined it would not be shutting, but that “all the children have been given a home learning pack today so they can consolidate their learning if the school were to close.”

“At the moment we are business as usual. However, if in the unfortunate event we had to shut, our teachers will also be emailing daily work for the children across all year groups Reception – Year 6 so that no child falls behind with their studies.”

She called on parents to keep the school informed “of any health concerns and to be sensible with their social arrangements”, adding that the school has “been contingency planning for a few weeks”, with a form for visitors and hand-washing upon entry.

Elsewhere, Yavneh College said it is “following the government guidelines and therefore we are not closing at this point. We have an action plan in place which includes methods through which we will be able to provide work to pupils should there be school closures.”

SJW rabbi contracts virus

The associate rabbi at St John’s Wood Synagogue, Yoni Golker, who is showing mild symptoms, is self-isolating and following official medical advice from Public Health England.

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/rabbi-yoni-golker-tested-positive-for-coronavirus/

Rabbi Yoni Golker tested positive for virus

Rabbi Yoni Golker has tested positive for the coronavirus, it was confirmed on Friday.

The associate rabbi at St John’s Wood Synagogue, who is showing mild symptoms, is self-isolating and following official medical advice from Public Health England.

Meanwhile, the senior rabbi Dayan Ivan Binstock is self isolating as a precaution.

Members who were in close contact with rabbi Golker in the last two weeks have been advised to self isolate for a period of two weeks starting from the exposure.

UK Envoy to Israel in isolation

Ambassador Neil Wigan took to Twitter saying someone on his flight had the virus, and he is going into isolation.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/british-ambassador-to-israel-in-self-isolation-after-virus-case-on-flight/

JN Editor discusses Coronavirus pandemic on BBC Radio London

Jewish News’ editor, Richard Ferrer, discusses the coronavirus pandemic on the Paper Review – BBC Radio London.

Listen here from 46mins to 59mins:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/p082bkdp

 

 

Liberal Judaism cancels youth camp amid coronavirus fears

Liberal Judaism has cancelled a youth camp in the spring to reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading.

The six-day Machaneh Aviv, which was to run from 4 to 19 April, will not go ahead, but the movement’s biennial weekend and summer programme remain scheduled.

Rabbi Charley Baginsky said the synagogue movement is “watching the situation closely” in a letter to members on Friday morning.

ANALYSIS: Shocking health stats show why Israel was so quick to shut its border

As Israel takes drastic steps to shut its borders amid the global pandemic, Stephen Oryszczuk reflects on its creaking healthcare system which makes the country so vulnerable

“Few outside Israel know that thousands of patients a year are dying from infections in Israeli hospitals, which are the most over-crowded in the developed world.”

Read more here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/opinion-shocking-health-stats-show-why-israel-was-so-quick-to-shut-its-border/

Netanyahu calls for ‘national emergency government’

Embattled Israeli prime minister says the unity across political lines ‘will fight to save the lives of citizens’ as the country battles the spread of Covid-19

 

“I call for the formation now, even this evening, of a national emergency government,” he said.

“It will be an emergency government for a limited period. Together we will fight to save the lives of citizens,” he added, saying that politics should be put aside.

He said that the virus does “not differentiate” between Jews and non-Jews or between the political left and right.

Read more:

El Al to suspend routes – but not to UK, yet

EL AL to “suspend operations on most of the company’s routes gradually as of this Sunday… and continue to maintain regular air connections to the United States, Canada, England, France and South Africa.”

EL AL chief executive, Gonen Usishkin said: “In recent days and hours, reports of a complete halt in the operations of the foreign airlines at Ben Gurion Airport are mounting in light of the various guidelines and the decline in demand.

After evaluating the latest situation, EL AL has had to gradually suspend its operations to most of its destinations as of Sunday evening, 15/3/2020.

“We are monitoring the situation and will continue to maintain regular air service to New York, Newark, Toronto, London, Paris and Johannesburg for the purpose of transporting passengers and cargo as per the published schedule.”

An El Al flight

Scotland to decide on Israel fixture

Scotland’s Euro 2020 play-off semi-final against Israel was due to take place in front of a sell-out Hampden crowd on March 26. But it might not even be played behind closed doors and there is uncertainty over whether the tournament will be held this summer, especially given there are 12 venues including Glasgow.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/scottish-football-to-decide-israel-euro-fixture/

North West London Jewish Day school is closed

Willesden -based North West London Jewish Day school is closed amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Rory Stewart makes JW3 talk his last amid virus pandemic

Speaking to a small audience at JW3, the former government minister, accompanied by his wife Shoshana, refused to spend more than 10 minutes in an indoor meeting room — even though doors and windows were opened — and asked those who wanted to continue the conversation to move outside into the cold March sunshine.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/rory-stewart-makes-communal-meeting-his-last-amid-virus-pandemic/

“..all major gatherings should be banned, and particularly the forthcoming St Patrick’s Day parade should be cancelled”.

Butchers “working overtime” to meet demand for meat amid Pesach cancellations

Suppliers “working overtime” to meet unprecedented demand in the wake of cancelled Passover trips to Israel.

Sarah Mann Yeager of Louis Mann & Son told Jewish News butchers are “already stretched to capacity on Passover”, and foresees a 20% increase in demand because of how the coronavirus epidemic has impacted travel plans.

Tamir Haziza, the director of the butcher Menachem’s in Golders Green, is also “concerned” and has had to readjust his supply as “basically everyone is staying.”

Chezky Trovsky from the kosher supermarket Hadar is increasing supply by 50% to meet the expected demand.

However, the potential for a lucrative festival period also carries the risk of oversupplying.

“Pesach is already the riskiest time of the year,” he told Jewish News.

“You can’t sell Pesach products afterwards, so you have to be very careful. Otherwise, it could have a very bad effect on your business.”

Coronavirus myths and facts with Dr Ellie

As the coronavirus hits countries around the world, so has a flurry of bogus claims, spreading like wildfire on social media.

Speaking to Jewish News on Wednesday, television’s top GP Dr Ellie Cannon fact-checks the most widespread advice about Covid-19.

Read what she had to say on common misconceptions, and her advice on keeping COVID-19 free.
Dr Ellie Cannon

Communal charities and organisations cancels key events

The Community Security Trust cancelled its annual fundraising dinner, as communal charities this week announced they would postpone similar events as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Cancellations include:

World Jewish Relief’s trip to Odessa, Ukraine, due to run between 29 March and 1 April.

Langdon’s annual dinner due to take place on the 18th May.

WIZO and Westminster Young Professionals’ Power Hour with Apprentice star Claude Littner, which was due to take place on 10 March

Youth Aliyah Child Rescue’s gala dinner on 23 March

Weizmann UK’s series of events, starting on 11 March, with new President, Professor Alon Chen

The Zionist Federation’s annual dinner on 22nd March,

Young Norwood’s  Business Entrepreneurs event on 26 March, until July.

Jnetics Inaugural Fundraising Dinner has been cancelled. It was due to take place in just 4 days, on Monday 16th March.

READ MORE here: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/cst-dinner-latest-casualty-as-community-cancels-events-over-coronavirus/

 

HET suspends Lessons from Auschwitz and Belsen 75 projects

The Holocaust Educational Trust (HET) said on Thursday, it has “suspended all our overseas educational projects, Lessons from Auschwitz and Belsen 75” until the end of the month.

The charity has also suspended its Trust’s Outreach Programme “in line with steps we are taking as extra precautions to protect our beloved Holocaust survivors”.

Read more here:  https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/holocaust-charity-cancels-overseas-educational-trips/

Shul member ‘seriously ill’

St John’s Wood United Synagogue emailed members with the development today, outlining the individual was last on the premises on February 29, stressing there is “no need for members to self-isolate”.

Airlines cancel amid virus chaos

Airlines taking the decision to suspend all or some of their Israel-bound services include Wizz Air, El Al, Aero Mexico, Lufthansa, Virgin Atlantic, SWISS, Austrian Airlines and Brussels Airlines.

  • If the coronavirus pandemic has disrupted your travel plans, get in touch: editorial@thejngroup.com

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/airlines-cancel-israel-flights-after-governments-14-day-quarantine-decision/

Rabbi Lord Sacks: ‘Selfishness will not protect us from coronavirus’

Francine Wolfisz meets the former Chief Rabbi to discuss his new book, Morality, which argues that society may have ‘hit a crisis moment’

“So, we’ve been very good on individualism, but much less good on collective responsibility. It’s all been wonderfully liberating, but at the same time we are now beginning to count the costs.”

Rabbi Lord Sacks

Jewish Care limits visits and cancels large events

Jewish Care is is “limiting visits to care homes to small groups of relatives of no more than five people at any onetime, essential staff and volunteers” and “asking people who feel unwell not to visit”.

A spokesperson for the charity added: “Contingency and response plans are in place for various scenarios which may occur as a result of coronavirus impacting the UK more widely. Jewish Care is regularly reviewing the situation, and our directorate team is now convening every 48 hours to review the situation, along with our measures and plans.

Read more: https://jewishnews.timesofisrael.com/jewish-care-limits-visits-and-cancels-large-events-to-prevent-spread-of-virus/

Coronavirus updates – live blog

Updates about the spread of the coronavirus are moving at a rapid pace, on a communal, national and international level.

At Jewish News, we will strive to bring you the latest information, analysis and opinion as it emerges, and we want to hear from you too.

Get in touch with Jewish News by emailing: editorial@thejngroup.com, or find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – @JewishNewsUK.

Whether you’ve had a cancelled flight to Israel, a Pesach order delayed, or if you’ve been more directly affected by the infection – we want to know how it has impacted on your life.

read more:
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