JERUSALEM (JTA) — As many Jewish communities struggle to stay afloat amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Jewish leaders from around the world convened a videoconference on Tuesday to prepare for when the crisis ends.
The leaders of 30 regional umbrella organizations held a roundtable forum convened by The Jewish Agency for Israel and Israel’s Ministry of Diaspora Affairs to assess the devastating implications of the coronavirus on the communities and the steps to address their most pressing needs.
The discussion included the need for assistance to weather the crisis; how to effectively collect and distribute aid; promoting unity and understanding; meeting the current and future needs of Jewish education; and preparation for future outbreaks of anti-Semitism.
Each organization was asked to be represented solely by a president and/or CEO to ensure that the forum includes those with the authority to make meaningful policy decisions.
“For the first time in the history of the State of Israel, we established a formal forum to assist Jewish communities around the world,” Jewish Agency Chairman Issac Herzog said in a statement. “This is not meant to be an ad hoc emergency response to a specific community, but rather to understand, to map, and to assist communities through a rehabilitation period that is expected to be long and, in some cases, grueling.”