Here’s How the New Coronavirus Has Affected the Jewish World

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a man wearing a medical mask in an airport
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By Philissa Cramer and Laura E. Adkins / JTA

Like the rest of the world, the Jewish world is reeling as the novel coronavirus spreads. Here’s a compilation of the latest developments.

A cluster of cases involves New York Jews.

Click here to follow the Jewish Telegraphic Agency’s coverage of coronavirus in the greater New York City Jewish community.

• A 50 year-old Orthodox attorney who lives in New Rochelle — along with his wife, daughter, son and neighbor — have tested positive for COVID-19, according to Gov. Andrew Cuomo. The attorney is in critical condition.

• On March 4, a friend of the attorney who also lives in New Rochelle tested positive as well — along with his wife and three children. The family is under self-quarantine.

Schools are closing and adjusting.

• Three schools in the greater New York City area — SAR Academy, Westchester Day School and Westchester Torah Academy — closed temporarily on March 3.

• Following a student testing positive for the coronavirus, known as COVID-19, Yeshiva University canceled classes at their Wilf Campus and high school in the Washington Heights neighborhood of New York City on March 4.

A group of persons potentially exposed to coronavirus attended AIPAC

• On March 3, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee wrapped their annual Policy Conference, which was attended by over 18,000 persons. On March 4, AIPAC tweeted that “a group of Policy Conference attendees from New York was potentially in contact prior to the conference with an individual who contracted coronavirus.” The individuals are in self-quarantine and no one who attended AIPAC has tested positive for coronavirus so far.

Communal religious life is adapting.

• In Milan, an epicenter of infection, houses of worship were ordered closed. That meant a scaled-down celebration for one bar mitzvah boy, whose party was supposed to have 600 people but instead was for family only. (A Syrian Muslim donated a tree in the boy’s honor after reading our story.)

Purim and Passover are approaching.

• Some 130 kosher-for-Passover resorts around the world are watching their reservations closely. A few in Italy had already canceled by early March.

Travel is affected.

• The Auschwitz Memorial and Museum has called on organizers of trips to the historical site to refrain from bringing visitors from countries that have been affected by the coronavirus.

Israel reacted early.

• Israel opened special quarantine voting sites for the national election on March 2. But some workers, fearing disease, have declined to open ballots from those sites.

This article originally appeared on JTA.org.

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