Help for Jews of color, a drastic new picture of Israeli infections, England preps for High Holidays


Some two to three percent of the Israeli population has contracted the coronavirus, at least 10 times more than the number of confirmed cases. That is the conclusion of the first Israeli study based on a representative sample of serological (antibody) blood tests, the Times of Israel reports.

According to the researchers, this means that as many as 270,000 Israelis may actually have been infected by the virus, most without displaying any symptoms at all.

This paints “a decidedly different picture than previous estimates made by other researchers, who believed that the confirmed cases – slightly more than 17,000 as of Monday – constituted the majority of those infected in Israel,” according to the news site.

The survey was conducted for the Pandemic Task Force led by Prof. Daniel Cohen of Tel Aviv University’s School of Public Health, in cooperation with the National Center for Disease Control and the Magen David Adom blood service.

Shofar-blowings in public parks and streets is one of the options being considered by England’s United Synagogue as it plans for the High Holy Days in the time of coronavirus, according to the London Jewish Chronicle. The country’s major Orthodox umbrella organization has issued a detailed 12-page guidance on providing services as the country gradually emerges from lockdown.

The earliest places of worship could reopen is July 4, if the country drops to step three on the government’ five-part threat scale; the country is still at step four. But religious institutions will need to implement special measures to ensure social distancing.

According to the United Synagogue advisory, synagogues should introduce a service where men and women can book seats at a service in advance to control numbers. Everyone in attendance will be expected to wear face coverings and maintain a distance of two meters, about 10 feet.

A new initiative will assist Jews of color in the U.S. who are most in need as a result of the Covid-19 crisis and economic fallout. “Systemic racism is amplifying the impact of COVID-19 on Jews of Color and all People of Color in the U.S,” said Ilana Kaufman, executive director of the Jews of Color Field Building Initiative, in a statement.

The Jews of Color Initiative COVID-19 Emergency Relief for Individuals will include financial documentation, a needs-based prioritization of allotted money, and awards granted on a rolling basis as funds are available.  Funding will be in the range of $250-$2,500 and is for individuals facing “hardship and an inability to obtain basic necessities” as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. All funding must be used for rent or mortgage payment; transportation to work or medical appointments; utilities; groceries; medical bills; or burial expenses.

The application is open at

Recommended reading: “Welcome to Your Quarantine Summer Camp: Camp BaBayit!” by Marjorie Ingall. The Tablet writer has suggestions for “providing summer programming for cranky Jewish youth.”

Recommended viewing: The musicians of the Folkbiene Yiddish Theater, in an effort to boost people’s spirits during the coronavirus crisis, have  recorded the wedding dance from “Fiddler on the Roof” from remote locations.


Any school in Israel that is found to have an active case of coronavirus will be closed immediately to stop its spread among education institutions, Education Minister Yoav Gallant said yesterday, the Jerusalem Post reports.

In recent days, there has been a surge in coronavirus infection throughout the country, especially in schools. A report disseminated by the Education Ministry showed that there were 13 new students and teachers diagnosed with coronavirus in the last day and that the number in isolation tripled.

So far, 212 students and educational staff have been diagnosed with the virus, and more than 5,000 are in isolation, according to the data. Although there are cases across the country, the majority are in Jerusalem – 174 students and educational staff, among them 147 from Gymnasia Rehavia.

The ministry shuttered 13 institutions, seven preschools and six schools, and at least 10 other schools were closed by their parent-teacher associations for fear that students and staff had encountered sick patients, although no coronavirus cases were found in them.

Sixteen schools are closed in Jerusalem.

Israeli scientists at the Israel Institute of Technology — the Technion — in Haifa, have developed a self-disinfecting reusable protective face mask, the Jewish Press reports. A patent was submitted in the US on March 31 and the research group is currently discussing commercialization with industrial companies.

Sonovia, an Israeli start-up, has had its innovative coronavirus-resistant Sonomask recognized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as “Registered for Marketing,” the company told the Jerusalem Post. The firm uses an almost-permanent, ultrasonic, fabric-finishing technology for mechanical impregnation of zinc oxide nanoparticles into textiles.


The White Plains-based Holocaust & Human Rights Education Center will sponsor a Memory Keepers Online Cocktail Hour on June 18 at 5 p.m. Guest speaker will be artist-educator Audrey Reich, whose artwork tells her father’s Holocaust survival story. For Zoom log-in information:

Temple Micah in Washington, D.C., will sponsor a webinar, Faith in the Time of Global Pandemic, on Tuesday at 7 p.m. It will feature a conversation between Rabbi Larry Hoffman, emeritus professor of liturgy, worship and ritual at Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and Dr. Diana Butler Bass, historian of Christianity, moderated by Rabbi Daniel Zemel of Temple Micah.

PUAH Cares is sponsoring a webinar one the difficulties faced by women who wish to go to mikvah during the current coronavirus, on Tuesday at 8:30 p.m.  It will feature social worker Shulamis Mayerfeld-Kessler and teacher Elimor Ryzman Kallah teacher, moderated by Rebbetzin Elisheva Segelman of the Torah Temima congregation in Kew Gardens Hills. For information:

The Israeli-American Council (IAC) and the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation are sponsoring “A First-Of-Its-Kind National E-Summit” that runs through Wednesday. “Through the lens of the economy, innovation, medical breakthroughs, and social adaptability, the most valued and captivating Israeli and American thought leaders will discuss our new reality in the wake of the Coronavirus,.”

Phil Brown, president of the Catskills Institute, will discuss the Jewish experience in the Catskills, from the first Jewish boarding house just before the turn of the 20th century, through the decline and current transformation, during a webinar on Tuesday at 4 p.m. The event is sponsored by the Wyner Family Jewish Heritage Center.

Join The Jewish Week and UJA-Federation for a powerful virtual evening with Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, Thursday, June 4, 6:00 PM – 8:00 p.m. Friedman and Andrew Silow-Carroll, The Jewish Week’s editor in chief, will discuss and take questions on the domestic and global ramifications of the coronavirus crisis and other international affairs challenges. The event is free, but you must register here.