World

In some European Jewish communities, getting the coronavirus carries a stigma

Haredi Orthodox Jews walk in Antwerp, Belgium, March 16, 2016. (Cnaan Liphshiz)

(JTA) — The coronavirus has spread rapidly among members of the Jewish community of Antwerp, which has a large Orthodox population. At least five have died and another 10 are hospitalized in serious condition. But the virus is hardly ever mentioned there by name. “People call it ‘the disease’… Read more »

An unwanted symptom of the coronavirus crisis in France: Anti-Semitic conspiracy theories

Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, left, and Alain Soral arrive at the Paris courthouse for Soral's trial for inciting hatred against Jews, March 12, 2015. (Loic Venance/AFP via Getty Images)

(JTA) — Anti-Semitism has plagued French society for centuries, flaring up in times of crisis — especially during epidemics. In the 14th century, for instance, Jews were massacred in France during the Black Death epidemic after they were blamed for spreading the disease by poisoning water wells. In the… Read more »

For Italian Jews, the ‘smell of death’ is all around

A cyclist protecting himself from the coronavirus passes in front of a synagogue in Turin, Italy, March 18, 2020. (Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)

(JTA) — At least twice a day, Micol Naccache breaks down in tears over what the coronavirus is doing to her city of Milan and its Jewish community. A high school teacher and mother of two, Naccache describes herself as “an optimistic person.” But she is struggling to stay… Read more »

The Bonds of Life: Remembering those we lost to COVID-19

We’re creating space to mourn Jews who are lost to the coronavirus at a time when Jewish mourning practices are nearly impossible to observe. If you’ve lost someone dear to you, we invite you to share their story with us using this form. Maurice Berger, 63, was a noted… Read more »

He wanted to encapsulate Beijing’s Jewish community in a Passover Haggadah. The coronavirus complicated that.

Artist Leon Fenster says this page of his Beijing-themed Haggadah aims to capture the traditional Haggadah’s "curiously non-chronological form of storytelling." (Courtesy of Fenster)

(JTA) — Unlike Shanghai or Hong Kong, which received Jews fleeing from World War II, Beijing does not have a robust Jewish history. In the words of Joshua Kurtzig, former president of the Reform congregation there, the massive Chinese capital is a “very transient city,” especially for Jews — meaning… Read more »