Special Sections

Haredi rabbinic leader calls on followers to pray alone

JERUSALEM (JTA) — Rabbi Chaim Kanievsky, a prominent leader in the haredi Orthodox community, called on his followers to pray alone without a prayer quorum. The ruling on Sunday came after a steep rise in the number of coronavirus cases in Bnei Brak, a mostly haredi city in Israel,… 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 »

On Sunday, the rabbi logged on to Zoom: A bride and groom were waiting

Jalna Silverstein and Asael Papour are married in New York, March 22, 2020. (Courtesy of Silverstein)

(JTA) — Before everything changed, Jalna Silverstein and Asael Papour were planning a wedding much like many other Jewish nuptials on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. They had a band and caterer lined up, a ceremony planned for the synagogue where Silverstein grew up and all the little… 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 »

The real reasons coronavirus is spreading in my Hasidic community

JERUSALEM (JTA) —  A vicious rumor has been making the rounds: Hasidim are neglecting to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously because we are selfish. But as someone born and bred in the Satmar community in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, who now lives in Jerusalem and writes for Yiddish publications, I can… Read more »

I’m a pediatrician who sees kids with coronavirus every day. It’s changed my whole way of life.

Health care providers wear protective equipment, like gloves, but some still get the coronavirus. (Getty Images)

NEW YORK (JTA) — I am a pediatrician who for 15 years has practiced in a medical office in the heart of Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We serve the local Hasidic community and see a variety of other patients from Brooklyn, the Lower East Side and Queens. When the coronavirus emerged… Read more »

Congregation Or Chadash Sisterhood shines a light on volunteer Sandock

Beverly Sandock

Community volunteer Beverly Sandock will be recognized in April by  the Congregation Or Chadash Sisterhood with its second annual Eshet Or (Woman of Light) award. In addition to 20 years of volunteer service at the synagogue, Sandock contributes to the community through daily professional and personal outreach. “Bev’s name… Read more »

Active GV volunteer has passion for aiding migrants

At her Green Valley home, Shura Wallin shows drawings created by migrant children sheltering in Nogales, Sonora. (Debe Campbell/AJP)

A grey, three-footed Mexican rescue cat named Tiny bats innocently at the frayed end of a dirty white rope. At the other end of the rope is a noose. The rope is one of many artifacts Shura Wallin has recovered from the Sonoran Desert between Green Valley and the… 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 »

‘We’re not scared’: Some haredi Orthodox Jews in Israel are ignoring coronavirus social distancing rules

Some of the students at a haredi boys school in Ramat Beit Shemesh Bet, just west of Jerusalem, where classes are still being held, March 18, 2020. (Sam Sokol)

BEIT SHEMESH, Israel (JTA) — “Do you want trouble?” the Hasidic man asked, leaning toward me intimidatingly. “Are you threatening me?” I asked, turning to look at the lean man in a flat black hat and long caftan. “No. But if you stay here, everyone will come and there… Read more »