Virus Anxiety? New Spiritual Resources Aim To Help You Cope


Since the threat of the coronavirus became apparent last month, various organizations in the Jewish community have concentrated on members’ physical and emotional needs. Now attention is turning to spiritual and educational needs.

Much of this focus is online, since in-person gatherings are becoming rarer, in an effort to reduce the odds of spreading or contracting the disease.

The Torah Umesorah day school organization called for a day of prayer to be observed online on Tuesday.

Rabbi David Wolpe of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles will speak about “Jewish Values during a Pandemic” during a webinar on Tuesday, March 17, at 1 p.m. For information:

Chabad has produced four “Stress Less” videos for homebound people. In addition, the chasidic movement’s Coronavirus Resources website is updated several times a day.

B’nai Jeshurun on the Upper West Side is streaming their morning and evening minyan.

Lab/Shul has a daily “Soul Spa.”

A coalition of several Jewish organizations will sponsor a “Soulful Community Kumzitz” night of music and storytelling on Zoom Sunday at 6:30 p.m. For information:

Repair the World and Amplifier have produced a resource for caring for the sick in times of crisis.

The Jewish Education Project is offering educational materials and resources for educators on dealing with the COVID-19 crisis.

And PJ Library has produced “Resources for Quarantined Families,” in partnership with UJA-Federation of New York, the Foundation for Jewish Camp and The Jewish Education Project.

The Israeli American Council-Mishelanu is offering several online activities for children, adults, college students and young professionals.

The Jewish Funders Network has produced a “hub” of resources for dealing with coronavirus, geared toward philanthropists, educators and parents.

Limmud North America will hold its first online eFestival of dozens of classes on March 29, noon-5 p.m.

The NCSY youth movement has announced a series of offerings, including “Bringing Seder to Chaos” pre-Pesach thoughts to prepare participants for next month’s seders, a “Spreading Positivity” photo-sharing template, an “NCSY Box” with three boxes of educational playing cards that can be ordered online, “Latte and Learn” programming for teens to replace coffee house-based meetings, and inspirational flash mobs.

The pro-Israel StandWithUs ( organization launched a new digital platform that features programming for people of all ages on such topics as anti-Semitism, Israeli archaeology, and Zionism.

HIAS has issued a “Jewish response to the refugee crisis,” stressing the Jewish obligation to counter “attempts to falsely blame migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers for the spread of coronavirus.”

In related news:

*The numbers of Israelis diagnosed with the disease rose to 324 on Tuesday. The Health Ministry issued sweeping new restrictions to curb the spread of Covid-19, with Israelis told not to leave home unless necessary.

* Michele Sciama, former leader of the Jewish community in Milan, has died of coronavirus.

* The Vaad Harabbonim of Greater Elizabeth, N.J., announced the closure of its affiliated synagogues “until further notice.” The closure by the Orthodox board of rabbis includes private minyanim, or prayer services, and public Jewish gatherings of any kind.

* Presidential Kosher Holidays joined the list of Passover travel programs that have cancelled this year’s events, calling it “medically imprudent, morally indefensible, and simply not responsible to run our 2020 Passover programs as planned.” The program expected some 1,400 guests at hotels in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Mexico’s Riviera Maya.


UJA-Federation of New York has compiled resources to help the Jewish community find advice, resources and opportunities for learning during the virus outbreak.