Reaffirming Jewish values in face of coronavirus

Jewish community seeks to reaffirm Jewish values in face of coronavirus

Tags: Coronavirus
Orli Harrari , | updated: 10:52 AM


Earlier this month, chief rabbis from around the world joined together to launch the #KeepingItTogether campaign, calling on all Jews to unite against coronavirus. This unprecedented declaration represents a concerted effort to aid in fight against COVID-19, coming after nearly two million worldwide coronavirus diagnosis, with 12,000 confirmed cases in Israel. In the letter, signed by the Chief Rabbis from Israel, France, Russia, England, Argentina, Brussels, Rome, and South Africa, Jews everywhere were urged to "adhere – with total commitment – to the health and safety protocols as set out by the country."

The Rabbis' call for global unity has sparked an international effort by the Jewish community to reaffirm a commitment to Jewish values, prompting many to reflect on their actions – as well as the actions of those in their community.

"We have obligations to do things that are helpful to a community of people," wrote Elanor Mintz, 96, of Dunwoody, Georgia in a New York Times op-ed reflecting on celebrating Passover under lockdown. "We take that obligation seriously...That is what we do."

Mintz is not alone. From Los Angeles to Tel Aviv, Jews around the world have begun thinking about how to make a difference in the lives of those who are struggling. And for those with considerable resources, these thoughts of goodwill have turned into remarkable acts of philanthropy.

Robert Kraft flies in aid for coronavirus workers

Two weeks ago, Robert Kraft, owner of the NFL New England Patriots, ordered the Patriot's jet to China, where the jumbo jet picked up 1.2 million N95 masks to help ease the shortage of critical supplies for American medical workers on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19.

"This is the greatest country in the world," Kraft told CNN. "It's time for us to rally together and solve these kinds of issues."

Sheldon Adelson commits to extending pay to his employees

Kraft's supply run came just a week before another notable member of the Jewish community, Sheldon Adelson, made the surprise announcement that he would continue paying every one of his 10,000 employees for the next two months. Adelson's announcement comes after he shut the doors to his casinos in Las Vegas in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 in Nevada. Adelson, a close ally of President Trump and a longtime Republican donor, has been applauded by people across the political spectrum – even being called "a hero" by the progressive publication The Forward.

Jewish school in Los Angeles donates N95 masks

It's not just high-net worth individuals like Kraft and Adelson who are doing all they can to support medical workers. Jewish schools, too, are jumping into the fight. Toledo High School in West Hills, closed due to social distancing guidelines, donated 2,000 N95 face masks to a local medical center and to the local police, according to a report by the Times of Israel.

"If we can make even a small impact on organizations that make a difference in this world," the school's principal Mark Shpall told Times of Israel, "then it's a win-win."

An opportunity to reaffirm our Jewish values

As the world nears a staggering 2 million infections – with many more predicted to fall ill in the coming months – life as we know it has been upended. This crossroads has presented people of all stripes to take stock of our values and reaffirm our commitments. During this time of uncertainty, Jewish people everywhere have an obligation to head the words of the chief rabbis who urge us all to come together to fight coronavirus.