Voice of the Jewish News: Be smart, stay safe 
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Voice of the Jewish News: Be smart, stay safe 

This week's Jewish News editorial reflects on the disproportionate number of Jewish deaths in the Covid-19 pandemic, and what the community must do to stay safe

Jewish News
Coronavirus particle (Credit: Felipe Esquivel Reed, CC BY-SA 4.0, www.commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87846813)
Coronavirus particle (Credit: Felipe Esquivel Reed, CC BY-SA 4.0, www.commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=87846813)

This week, the number of Jews dying of Covid-19 in the UK entered triple figures. But no sooner did we call it a “grim milestone” than we feared three figures could become four.

Some who died are well-known to us: the philanthropist and big Magen David Adom supporter Irving Carter, former Jewish Care chairman Michael Goldmeier, Rabbi Neil Kraft of Edgware and Hendon Reform Synagogue, and the Manchester kashrut authority Rabbi Osher Yaakov Westheim.

Every loss, whether or not that of a great communal figure, brings pain beyond words.

As we know all too well, loss, anger and sadness can morph into anger and accusation. Some say that sections of the strictly- Orthodox put lives at risk by not distancing. Adherence may have been slow at first, but the message appears to have well and truly sunk in.

Others say mikvehs staying open presents a risk. Maybe but, again, it is not clear-cut. These pools are not like swimming baths or social clubs.  With a lengthy list of precautionary actions carefully applied, the risk of spreading infection there ought to be small.

The chair of the Jewish Medical Association has said lives could have been saved had there been a Purim lockdown. We will never know. He may be right, but now does not feel like a moment to ask ‘what if’ or to say ‘I told you so’.

Sadly, at some point, one thing we will know is the final tally of Covid-19 deaths in the Jewish community. Our job, collectively and individually, is to keep that figure as low as possible. There have already been 121 deaths too many.

So please. Let’s be as smart as we need to be to stay safe. Because that is one list of names on which none of us wants to see a loved one.

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