Monday, 30 Mar 2020 - 5 of Nisan, 5780

Calls to support and assist the Jewish communities of Italy as the country is the hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic

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The Jewish Agency for Israel and Keren Hayesod have joined to offer the Italian Jewish communities support and assistance.

“We naturally feel solidarity with all Italians, but we are particularly touched by the situation of the Jewish communities, to whom we wish to extend a helping hand in this time of crisis,” said last week Isaac Herzog, chairman of the Jewish Agency and Sam Grundwerg, chairman of Keren Hayesod, in a letter of support they sent to the president of Rome’s Jewish community, Ruth Durgello who declared: “We are a proud and ancient community in the midst of the worst situation we have faced since World War II.’’

Italy has been in Europe the hardest hit by  the coronavirus pandemic, with 35,713 cases and 2,978 deaths as of Thursday. The population is on lockdown since two weeks.

The Jewish communities in Rome and throughout Italy are in a state of crisis. Covid-19 has sent these communities into a tailspin. Families are  unable to leave their houses. They are unable to work.

There are around 28,000 Jews in Italy today, living mainly in Rome (13,000) and Milan (8,000), with smaller communities in Turin (900), Florence (1,000), Venice (600) and Livorno, 600). Other Jewish communities numbering a few hundred members in each city can be found in Bologna, Genoa, Triste, Ancona, Naples Padua, Pisa, Modena, Siena, Parma and Verona.

Several expressions of solidarity and support for the Italian Jewish community have been  voiced.

”Will you please make an urgent gift to ease the suffering of Jewish families in Rome? Pesach is on its way. Many mothers and fathers are wondering how they’re going to buy basic necessities like matzah and medicine. We are worried about their physical and mental well-being. The needs of the community are growing by the day.”

‘’Your donation will not make this horrible pandemic go away. But it will help buy medical masks for volunteers to deliver food to the homebound. It will go toward purchasing prescription drugs for those who cannot access them. It will go to helping the Jews who need it the most,’’ calls an emergency campaign on CAUSEMATCH to support Italy’s Jewish community, which is shared on social media.

The Jewish Agency for Israel and Keren Hayesod have joined to offer the Italian Jewish communities support and assistance.

“We naturally feel solidarity with all Italians, but we are particularly touched by the situation of the Jewish communities, to whom we wish to extend a helping hand in this time of crisis,” said last week Isaac Herzog, chairman of the Jewish Agency and Sam Grundwerg, chairman of Keren Hayesod, in a letter of support they sent to the president of Rome’s Jewish community, Ruth Durgello who declared: “We are a proud and ancient community in the midst of the worst situation we have faced since World War II.’’

“The Jewish Agency, together with Keren Hayesod, stand ready to assist your community in order to help you come through these hard times,” the letter reads.

“We will appeal to Jewish communities worldwide, as well as to leading Jewish organizations, to help you out and provide support, as the old proverb says: ‘All Jewish people are responsible for one another.’’

The president of the Jewis community of Milan, Milo Hasbani, said that measures are being taken in order to maintain calm in the community. “Our schools and nursing homes have been shut for three weeks,” he said. “We are organizing various support channels to help community members, especially elderly people who are in quarantine and can’t go food shopping. We are setting up distance learning for the children, investing in disinfectants and preparing the community’s security team for any scenario.”

Milan is located in Lombardy, the region in Italy which has suffered the worst of the coronavirus outbreak.

PLEASE SEND YOUR MESSAGES OF SOLIDARITY TO THE JEWISH COMMUNITIES OF ITALY BY EMAIL TO EJPRESS2020@gmail.com. WE WILL PUBLISH THEM. 

 

 

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