Many, perhaps most of us, will be spending this Shabbat under self-isolation or even lockdown as our communities and the whole of Europe face the biggest challenge in most of our lifetimes. Others are directly facing the menace of this virus, fighting it or supporting close ones. Others live in real fear or sadly, even bereavement.
Formally, our communities may have closed their doors and events have been cancelled, but never have these communities been so open. Volunteers are helping with shopping and providing the basic necessities of life to those who cannot go out or are most threatened. Our communal and religious leaders are providing assistance and maintaining the structures we all need at the most difficult times. Our community members are picking up the phone to friends and neighbours. Social media has never been used in such a positive manner. In recent years, we helped built a reliable network of Crisis Management Centres across our communities, which today offer a vital support to those in distress.
There is an outpouring of warmth and generosity in our communities we can truly be proud of. It will sustain us through this difficult period and it will help us to rebuild and celebrate when this ends, as it surely will.
Our home, our family, our community is now the protective shell around all of us. We will need this shell more than ever in the coming weeks and months.
Please follow the advice and guidance of the public authorities in your respective country.
President, European Jewish Congress
March 20, 2020