Saturday, 6 Jun 2020 - 14 of Sivan, 5780

Spain: Three people died from coronavirus in the Jewish communities of Barcelona and Madrid

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Spain is in Europe the hardest affected country by the Cov-19 pandemic after Italy. More than 8,000 people have died since the coronavirus exploded in the country.

Two members of the Jewish community of Barcelona have died from coronavirus, EJP has learned. The two are elderly people.

Spain experiences its third week of lockdown, with all but essential workers ordered to remain at home.

‘’The situation is very difficult in the city where there are problems with the number of beds available in hospitals for the people badly infected by the virus,’’ Fernando Rosentgberg, Director of the Jewish community of Barcelona told European Jewish Press.

Spain is in Europe the hardest affected country by the Cov-19 pandemic after Italy. At least 10,000 people have died since the coronavirus exploded in the country. The country has more than 54,000 active cases of the virus, according to recent figures from the ministry of health.

‘’Our organisation is helping the member of the Jewish community by bringing food  and pharmaceutical products to those in need. We call every person every day. The organisation is efficient. The problem will be economic with many in the population having lost their jobs,’’ explains Fernando Rosentgberg.

Around 10,000 Jews live in Barcelona, including many Israelis.

In Madrid, the overall sanitary situation is not better. One person reportedly died from the virus in the Jewish community. ‘’The Jewish community is working hard in order to keep our Jewish life, our solidarity and brotherhood spirit that we have established for the last decades,’’ says Leon Benalbas, who heads the Jewish community of the capital of Spain.

The Jewish school is working with audiovisual platforms that are developing all curriculums and classes for the kids and students. The classes include Jewish history and Hebrew. ‘’We have also developed platforms, like Zoom, for broadcasting collective prayers and shiurim (lectures) from our rabbis,’’ Benalbas told European Jewish Press. This is done at least twice a day.

The organisation has also been able to keep alive the day club for its elderly members who represent a large proportion of the community.

‘’Every day we issue news bulletins and we provide the information on all our activities and on the instructions we have to give in order to live this confinement with the least pain.’’

The Chevrah Kadisha  is conducting the burials, keeping the halachic commandments. ‘’Up to now we have taken all precautionary measures that have been issued by the national government and the national health authority,’’ says Benalbas.

Ezra is delivering food to the Jewish homes in need. ‘’We call all people  who live alone. Normally we keep visiting them on a regular basis, but now it is not possible.’’

According to Benalbas, there will be a financial stress in the community. ‘’You can imagine that unemployment is rocketing and this will undoubtedly affect the income of our members. But we are working hard to keep alive our Jewish community,’’ he said.

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