World

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 »

Saying Kaddish from balconies and fasting: How Hasidic Jews are responding to the coronavirus

Chabad children in Argentina study in the movement's online school in 2007. During the new coronavirus outbreak, the school has offered guidance to other Jewish schools transitioning to remote learning. (Courtesy of the Nigri International Shluchim Online School)

NEW YORK (JTA) — One of Avi Webb’s favorite times of the week is Sunday morning, when he takes his children to morning prayers at his synagogue and stays for a lesson on Hasidic thought. His kids play at an arts and crafts table while he studies. Webb is… Read more »

Jews in the United Kingdom prepare for distancing as Britain adapts to coronavirus

Philip Carmel, seen outside a Jewish cemetery in Russia during a work trip in 2018, says "the only difference between the United Kingdom and Italy is that we’re three weeks behind them.” (Cnaan Liphshiz)

(JTA) — As the coronavirus forced the shutdown of many synagogues in the United States and beyond last Shabbat, many British Jews celebrated the day of rest as usual. At the time, their government was taking a far less restrictive approach even as the leaders of other countries shut… Read more »

Aging Poles who rescued Jews during the Holocaust are at risk from the coronavirus. So this Jewish group is delivering food to them. 

Jonny Daniels delivers groceries to a rescuer of Jews in Warsaw, Poland, March 17, 2020. (Courtesy of From the Depths)

(JTA) — As a teenager in Warsaw during the Holocaust, Krystyna Kowalska helped save a Jewish family of four who hid at her family’s bakery. She does not remember being afraid, even though if they had been discovered her whole family would have almost certainly been shot dead on… Read more »

Former leader of Milan Jewish community dies of coronavirus

(JTA) — Michele Sciama, a former secretary-general of the Jewish Community of Milan — the city’s local Jewish communal life organization — has died of the Covid-19 coronavirus. Sciama, known to his friends and family as Micky, was 79 when he died Monday morning. He is survived by his… Read more »

Brazilian Jewish schools close to prevent coronavirus infections

RIO DE JANEIRO (JTA) – Brazil’s largest Jewish community is closing schools in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus, despite the very low number of infections in the country so far. Sao Paulo is home to half of Brazil’s 120,000 Jews. Its Beit Yaacov school, Brazil’s… Read more »

Auschwitz Memorial closes to visitors over coronavirus fears

(JTA) — The Auschwitz Memorial and the site of the former Nazi camp are closed to visitors due to concerns over the coronavirus. The memorial announced on Wednesday that it would shut down until March 25. The announcement comes on the heels of the decision by the Polish government… Read more »

‘It’s separating families’: How the unprecedented coronavirus lockdown is affecting Italy’s Jews

A man and woman stand outside the Milan Cathedral with protective masks and sanitizing gels, Feb. 23, 2020. (Andrea Diodato/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

(JTA) — The outbreak of the coronavirus in northern Italy forced Claudia Bagnarelli to make a painful choice. “To keep visiting my 94-year-old mother, I needed to stop seeing everyone else in my life,” Bagnarelli, a Jewish ballet teacher from Milan, said Monday. To avoid the risk of infecting… Read more »

Passover in the time of coronavirus: Cancellations mount at kosher resorts

Sunrise in the Canazei area, which hosts a kosher Passover package that is being forced to shut down due to coronavirus concerns. (Frank Bienewald/Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — For the past three years, Esther Possick and her son have avoided the hassle of hosting Passover at their Long Island home by traveling to kosher hotels in foreign locales. In 2017, they spent the holiday at a resort in Stresa, a resort town on… Read more »