Conference of European Rabbis Zoom meeting
Conference of European Rabbis Zoom meetingConference of European Rabbis (CER)

The Standing Committee of the Conference of (CER) European Rabbis on Sunday hosted an emergency Zoom meeting to discuss how the current COVID-19 outbreak is affecting various Jewish communities.

The CER has had ongoing conversations with its rabbis around COVID-19 since the middle of February, providing clear guidance on a number of issues, including the precautions that individuals should follow prior to official lockdowns being announced. The CER has been outspoken throughout on its calls to strictly follow government advice in all countries. There has also been halakhic (relating to Jewish law - ed.) advice around Pesach (Passover) and the seder, as well as a new prayer for the protection of patients and medics.

Sunday’s meeting brought together some 50 of Europe’s leading rabbis and was an opportunity to review how communities have coped over the last few weeks and to share advice and support ahead of what is set to be a Pesach unlike anybody has ever experienced.

At the meeting, a new platform was launched for Europe’s Jewish communities to share their online activities providing a comprehensive directory of online shiurim, classes and resources which are now available. Another agenda item looked at how well positioned communities are to fight back from this outbreak and the possibility of a new fund that will help support Jewish communities later in the year.

Reflecting on the emergency meeting, Chief Rabbi Goldschmidt, president of the Conference of European Rabbis, said: “We felt that it was important for us all to take time out of our schedules and come together to share our ideas and work together to better support our congregants, many of whom are suffering. The new resources that we are launching will, I hope, help our communities get through and eventually rebuild from this pandemic.”

“There is something incredibly special about seeing friends and colleagues during this very challenging time and I was pleased to have the opportunity to do this before Pesach.”

The Standing Committee was scheduled to meet in Bucharest, Romania, after Pesach. This meeting has now been postponed until further notice.