Agency tallies Jewish deaths, Israel locks down neighborhoods, anti-Semites want to infect Jews


Jewish deaths around the world from the coronavirus — excluding the United States, Israel and the countries of the former Soviet Union — total about 2,200, the Jewish Agency said Wednesday.

The group, which works to bolster Israel-Diaspora relations, released these numbers on a Zoom call that included the leaders of several Diaspora Jewish communities that are suffering financially from the current crisis: 33 Jewish deaths from countries in the Middle East, 40 from Chile, 50 from Mexico, 70 from Argentina and 100 from Brazil.

Jewish Agency Chairman Isaac Herzog said his organization was not able to confirm figures for the United States and the FSU.

Two Democratic senators, Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Debbie Stabenow of Michigan, want to know if kosher and halal food is being included in the Department of Agriculture’s efforts to help alleviate food insecurity during the coronavirus crisis.

The senators sent a letter Thursday to Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue asking for details about josher and halal food in the Farmers to Families Food Box Program. In April, the Department of Agriculture announced that under the program, the USDA would be purchasing up to $3 billion in fresh produce, dairy and meat products to be distributed to food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other nonprofits.

The first round of purchases for 32.4 million in food boxes ended on June 30 and totaled $1.2 billion, according to the USDA. A second round of purchases for 695,000 food boxes is set to end on Aug. 31.

Parts of Jerusalem, Beit Shemesh, Lod, Ramle and Kiryat Malachi became “restricted zones” for seven days, a day after cabinet ministers approved the measure as the number of new cases in Israel continued to surge. The restrictions will be lifted at 8 a.m. on July 17.

Health Minister Yuli Edelstein has warned that the government could reimpose a nationwide lockdown if the number of daily virus infections climbs to 2,000, according to a report published Friday.

Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion, however, criticized the lockdown order, claiming it would cause “mass infections.”

“These people will go out and infect everyone in their neighborhood,” he told the Kan public broadcaster. “The solution for the coronavirus is to isolate the carriers. I have asked to be handed the authority to evacuate the carriers to [quarantine] hotels until they recover.”

Far-right and neo-Nazi groups are instructing followers to “deliberately infect” Jews and Muslims with the coronavirus as they fan conspiracy theories around the pandemic, a UK government counterterrorism agency warned Thursday.

The New York Post reported that the UK’s Commission for Countering Extremism published research saying it has received increasing reports of extremist groups of all kinds — far-right, far-left and Islamist extremists — exploiting the public health crisis to “sow division” in communities.


Registration is now open for Camp Be’chol Lashon Online. The camp is a setting where diverse Jewish kids and families can find community and belonging.

Selfhelp Community Services is participating in Global Ageing Network’s special day of remembrance for the elders lost during the coronavirus pandemic. The agency paid tribute on its social media accounts using the hashtag #RememberCoronavirusElders and participated in a zoom vigil. It also created a memorial page on its website to highlight the life stories of clients and staff members lost in the pandemic.

PJ Library is hosting “You Be the Detective: A Family Tour of Jerusalem,”a webinar, on July 13, from 1:30-2:30 pm.

The Orthodox Union’s Women’s Initiative is launching a summer virtual beit midrash for women offering two tracks – an intensive learning program and a lecture series examining Torah topics through the lens of architecture, literature and history. Both programs start on Monday, July 13.

The Hampton Synagogue will pay tribute to Ambassador Dani Dayan, Israel’s Consulate General to New York, as he ends his tenure and returns to Israel. The tribute will take place right before the showing of this Sunday’s Jewish Film Festival at 8:30 pm at Francis Gabreski Airport.

B’Yachad Together: Spirited by American Jewish University is offering a series of webinars, including “Israel Beyond the Headlines: Israeli Politics Explained,” presented by journalist Chemi Shalev, US editor and correspondent for Haaretz, and former diplomatic correspondent for Jerusalem Post, Davar and Ma’ariv. Monday, July 13, 1:30 p.m. For pricing and details of other programs in the series go here.